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Sek Lo at Seasoning in SF Chinatown

Melanie Wong Oct 19, 2006 12:56 AM

After lunch today elise h and I walked up Jackson Street to my favorite produce stand in Chinatown, Seasoning (unmarked green awning just east of Stockton Street). As we got closer, a foreign yet completely tantalizingly pungent fruit aroma grew stronger and stronger. On display on the sidewalk was a box of what the staffer called sek lo. These are from China and priced at a whopping $4.99/lb. I bought an average size one which set me back 85¢. I asked her if I should peel it. She shook her head and pointed out that I should cut it in half, trim off the blossom end and eat the whole thing. The creamy colored flesh was similar to a soft pear or an unripe fig. The skin was as tender as a Bartlett pear's and the seeds reminded me of fig seeds but not so plentiful. This was only moderately sweet and seemed a touch underripe as the parts under the bruises had the best flavor and the aroma was much stronger than the taste. Even now, after washing my hands a couple times, the fragrance still lingers on my finger tips.

This was my first experience with this fruit. Maybe someone can tell me what it is. In any event, you can find them at Seasoning, 772 Jackson St., SF, 415.989.3028. One of the reasons I like this place is that it usually has some things not found elsewhere in Chinatown.

Image of sek lo (shek lo) -

Old post on Seasoning -

  1. manda Oct 19, 2006 01:30 AM

    Sek lo = guava?

    It looks like a deeper green version of the guava I'd purchased last year at the 32nd Ave/Noriega market. I remember mine being very fragrant but not very ripe or sweet.

    1. b
      billee Oct 20, 2006 12:35 AM

      fan sek lo is the full cantonese name and yes it's guava

      1. Melanie Wong Oct 20, 2006 01:11 AM

        Thanks for the ID! I've only had pink-fleshed guava before that had to be peeled. But the aroma is certainly guava, once you put a name to it. The tiny piece I cut off the bud end and tossed in the garbage can is enough to scent the whole kitchen.

        1. t
          theSauce Oct 20, 2006 04:00 AM

          You can find them at 99 ranch as well. The ones at 99 ranch are harder and crunchier. You can find dried ones as well.

          3 Replies
          1. re: theSauce
            Melanie Wong Oct 20, 2006 06:32 AM

            Do you prefer them hard and crunchy or softer?

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              anli Oct 20, 2006 04:39 PM

              I prefer them softer myself. The translation of fan sek lo is "foreign pomegranite." I have tried the green ones in Taiwan where they were plentiful.

              1. re: anli
                Melanie Wong Oct 20, 2006 11:15 PM

                Ah, that makes sense, thanks! Is $5 per lb. typical around here?

          2. t
            theSauce Oct 21, 2006 03:59 AM

            Very typical, 99 ranch will have them for $3.99 a lb. The softer ones are sweeter than the green crunchier ones. The crunchier ones are a little tart and the flavor is not as strong. I've seen ones in Taiwan grow as big as a softball.

            1. K K Oct 21, 2006 04:37 AM

              I recall biting into a guava in a trip to Taipei and didn't like it at all, although I grew up drinking the Vita brand of artificially flavored guava drink, and thought they were not similar in any way. These were darker green shade, small, and crunchy to the point where you just bite it without peeling or cutting.

              In Hong Kong there's a fruit that is similar looking, but tastes nothing like the cheramoya (did I spell that right) here. I thought those were "fan sek lo". I had a ripe one 4 years ago there one summer, and it was the softest and juiciest piece. Are we talking about the same thing?

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