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fresh Dragonfruit at Ralphs...

silence9 Oct 19, 2006 05:57 PM

Just yesterday saw that Ralph's has fresh Dragonfruit. Looks like a large red mango with green/yellow shoots sprouting out of its body like fruit dreadlocks. Really cool looking. Anyone know how to best eat it? I suupose I'll just buy one and cut it open. But I'd like to know what to expect, flavorwise, if you've tried one before. And is it best served cooked or raw? Thanks...

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  1. s
    ssainani RE: silence9 Oct 19, 2006 06:00 PM

    just peel off the pink skin

    the inside reveals a really pretty fruit...i've only eatten it raw and it's not very tasty imo.

    Like a mild kiwi

    2 Replies
    1. re: ssainani
      silence9 RE: ssainani Oct 19, 2006 06:04 PM

      Thank you. Maybe a squeeze of lime will help...

      1. re: ssainani
        sivyaleah RE: ssainani Oct 19, 2006 06:06 PM

        I didn't like it either - and I haven't found a fruit yet I didn't enjoy. Tasted really odd and flat to me. But it sure looked good sitting out in my fruit bowl :-)

      2. l
        ladelfa RE: silence9 Oct 19, 2006 06:08 PM

        Yeah, we usually slice one end off and dig down into it with a spoon. The stuff that looks like chocolate-chip ice cream is the part you eat.

        And yes, it has the highest cool-looks:good-taste ratio of anything I can think of.

        If memory serves, it's the fruit of some succulant or cactus-like plant, so if it reminds you of prickly pear ("tuna"), that's probably why.

        5 Replies
        1. re: ladelfa
          sivyaleah RE: ladelfa Oct 19, 2006 06:19 PM

          Pitaya - I was struggling to remember the name!

          1. re: sivyaleah
            Dommy RE: sivyaleah Oct 19, 2006 06:52 PM

            I LOVEEEEE Pitaya... It makes the BEST sorbet... I will keep an eye out for them thanks!!! :)

            1. re: Dommy
              PayOrPlay RE: Dommy Oct 19, 2006 06:58 PM

              Hey, Dommy, do you have any suggestions where one can get really good pitaya (pitahaya) sorbet? We found it at Il Cono in BH, but like most of the flavors there, it looked a lot better than it tasted.

              Overall my experiences with dragonfruit have been the same as Pei's--"bad kiwi" is a pretty good comparison. Would love to do better if possible. Sometimes they're for sale at farmer's markets, anyone have an opinion one whether those are any better than the (mediocre, breathtakingly expensive) ones you get at places like Gelsons and Bristol Farms?

              1. re: PayOrPlay
                Dommy RE: PayOrPlay Oct 19, 2006 07:36 PM

                Yeah, Dulceria Colon on Montejo Street, Merida Yucatan...

                That is why I was so excited, it's one of my favorite fruits from the Yucatan, I've RARELY seen it here...

                Techically tho', because of the pulp of the Pitaya is so spongy, you can freeze the fruit and eat it cold and it's like Pitaya sorbet already! :)


                1. re: Dommy
                  bulavinaka RE: Dommy Sep 16, 2008 11:51 AM

                  Matteo's Mexican Ice Cream and Paletas on Sepulveda in Culver City carries pitaya paletas and sorbets - don't know if this is a regular offering so call first before going...

        2. Pei RE: silence9 Oct 19, 2006 06:38 PM

          Dragonfruit is cursed in that it's one of those fruits that tastes horrible when mass produced and shipped long distances. It just doesn't keep or travel well.

          If you get one fresh and close to its source, it's mild but fragrant in a unique way, and very refreshing after a meal. When you get it at Ralph's, it's like a bad kiwi.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Pei
            ladelfa RE: Pei Oct 19, 2006 06:45 PM

            I had a few in Thailand, and it was definitely the least interesting of the new fruits that I encountered on that trip. Not worth the prices I've seen them sold at around here (the Chinese markets in SGV have them occaionally).

            Oh, and supposedly you can grow them here in So Cal. They're not all necessarily shipped over from Thailand or Vietnam, though the ones in Ralph's probably are.

            1. re: ladelfa
              Pei RE: ladelfa Oct 19, 2006 07:51 PM

              Yes, they do grow well here. My friend was just saying her mom has a tree in Huntington Beach and it produces mild, sweet fruit.

              1. re: Pei
                scuzzo RE: Pei Sep 16, 2008 11:38 AM

                I would love more info on growing them. Can I plant seeds from the fruit? Buy a plant somewhere? How big does the plant get?

                I live in So Cal. I got a couple dragonfruit from a local person and I quite like it.

                1. re: scuzzo
                  raytamsgv RE: scuzzo Sep 16, 2008 12:42 PM

                  You don't need to plant from seeds. They grow very well from cuttings. I've seen dragon fruit with branches more than 10 feet high.

                  1. re: raytamsgv
                    scuzzo RE: raytamsgv Sep 16, 2008 04:04 PM

                    Do they need a lot of water, not much, full sun? Sounds like a very fun thing to grow. Those pink bulbs are fascinating! Plus horrendously expensive to buy.

                    1. re: scuzzo
                      Das Ubergeek RE: scuzzo Sep 16, 2008 06:16 PM

                      You can buy the plants at the Vietnamese shops I talked about below, usually $20 for a vine that's 6 feet or so.

                      Never mind, I didn't link... but I mean "Thai Son" on Bolsa and Magnolia near Mi La Cay and the ABC Market.

                      1. re: scuzzo
                        bulavinaka RE: scuzzo Sep 16, 2008 09:11 PM

                        They love heat and sun... the more the better. The first cultivated ones here in SoCal came from near the Salton Sea. You see them everywhere in Malaysia while riding the trains through the countryside - again, all in full sun.

                        1. re: scuzzo
                          raytamsgv RE: scuzzo Sep 17, 2008 01:15 PM

                          They need a moderate amount of water and do well in sun. However, you need to keep the rest of the plant as dry as possible. If water collects on the stems, you'll likely end up with rot. I'm actually in the process of moving mine away from some sprinklers to a location where I can control the water placement more precisely.

                          1. re: raytamsgv
                            bulavinaka RE: raytamsgv Sep 17, 2008 01:22 PM

                            It might look too ghetto for most, but in Malaysia, they prop up an old tire on poles, train the vine to grow up the poles and through the tire, then allow it to hang over the outside of the tire. The vine stays relatively dry (rains a lot in Malaysia), gets plenty of sun and space, the tire affords cushion to the draping portion of the vine, and the fruit is easily accessible.

                  2. re: ladelfa
                    raytamsgv RE: ladelfa Oct 20, 2006 11:19 PM

                    I just ate the first (and only) fruit from my plant last week. It was wonderful. They are very easy to grow in the Los Angeles area. I've seen them in a number of yards in the San Gabriel Valley.

                  3. re: Pei
                    Mr Taster RE: Pei Oct 19, 2006 07:53 PM

                    I too am one of those people who believes the dragon fruit's visual appeal pales in comparison to it's rather benign flavor. Having just returned from 6+ months in Asia, I've had my share of locally produced dragon fruit and found it hard to like. It has an outrageously mild, hardly-there flavor and the texture is, as others have noted, similar to kiwi. However it has none of the tartness and boldness of flavor that makes kiwi so interesting.

                    Now it's not that it's bad, per se, it's just that I'd rather eat something else. Though served as one fruit out of a platter (or witin a fruit salad, let's say) it would be an interesting visual and textural contrast.

                    Mr Taster

                    1. re: Mr Taster
                      Eat_Nopal RE: Mr Taster Sep 19, 2008 01:35 PM

                      It may be a question of Terroir... Pitahayas taste good in their native terroir throughout Southern Mexico... they do tend to be mild & best for Sorbets & Juices but they are aromatic & refreshing when freshly harvested. Also, just like Prickly Pears... you almost have to be in that 100 degree dry heat to truly appreciate what they are.

                      Oh.. & good Pitahayas are supposed to be fairly sour.

                  4. a
                    Alice RE: silence9 Oct 19, 2006 07:03 PM

                    Is this at a specific Ralph's? or at all Ralph's? I'd be very interested to try it here. I've only had it in Taiwan and it reminds me of a non-tangy slightly sweet kiwi.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Alice
                      silence9 RE: Alice Oct 19, 2006 08:16 PM

                      Alice: I just got back from the Ralphs at the corner of Olympic and Barrington (WLA). The Dragonfruit there are the size of large red mangoes and go for $4.29 each. Oddly, instead of selling them next to all the other exotic fruits, they are exiled to near the organics...

                      1. re: silence9
                        Alice RE: silence9 Oct 19, 2006 11:52 PM

                        oooh thanks for the heads up! will have to check that out ;)

                    2. b
                      BobMack RE: silence9 Oct 19, 2006 08:53 PM

                      Dragonfruit is also available in numerous sources around LA. There is a lot of it growing in Los Angeles and Orange County. I saw some for sale yesterday at the the little food place at the entrance of the Saigon Plaza.

                      I also saw some in a backyard in Orange County but that's not for sale as far as I know.

                      There are two kinds of dragonfruit, the kind from Asia has a white center and the kind from Guatemala has a pink center (or other way around, I can't remember). The flavor is mild so as previous posters stated it sort of tastes bad when the shipping process is long.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: BobMack
                        Mr Taster RE: BobMack Oct 19, 2006 11:23 PM

                        Asian DF has a white center.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: BobMack
                          Das Ubergeek RE: BobMack Oct 20, 2006 03:55 PM

                          It was available (for $4.59/lb.) at Olive Marketplace on Oxnard and Whitsett yesterday. I didn't buy any.

                        2. j
                          Jerome RE: silence9 Oct 20, 2006 12:07 AM

                          There are many species of dragonfruit/pita(ha)ya but here are two - the undatus has a white interior, the other, hylocereus Polyrhizus has a magenta interior - both have black seed spots, like a kiwi. Neither are native to SE Asia - I remember hearing that the French brought it to vietnam from Mexico (where there are forests of the stuff - even in Baja not far from the Cabos) - hard to find in mainland china but it's common in T'ai-wan.

                          1. e
                            epop RE: silence9 Oct 20, 2006 12:32 AM

                            i had one that was incredible + 2 that were decent

                            1. bitsubeats RE: silence9 Sep 16, 2008 06:23 PM

                              i ate one and it was pretty blah. I'm sure it would've tasted great with lime juice, salt, and chile powder.

                              1. t
                                taboo RE: silence9 Sep 17, 2008 06:31 AM

                                I had Dragonfruit this summer in Thailand and have been looking everywhere for it in NYC. I think it is great with a squeeze of lime and very refreshing. Does anyone know where I can find this other than chinatown? If it is chinatown...do you know where? Thanks!

                                1. m
                                  Mag454 RE: silence9 Sep 17, 2008 03:52 PM

                                  Yuck, I hate dragon fruit. I want to like it, it is so pretty and unusual looking. But even when friends give it to me, picked fresh from their tree, I still don't like it. It is so bland and kind of too sweet for me. Yuck.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Mag454
                                    bulavinaka RE: Mag454 Sep 17, 2008 03:54 PM

                                    May I ask where your friends live?

                                  2. j
                                    jeanmarieok RE: silence9 Sep 18, 2008 03:21 AM

                                    Kroger had them last week. I was going to buy one, for my Sunday school class to try (we were doing the whole Adam and Eve story), but they were $9, and I would have needed 2 of them, so didn't do it. I like dragonfruit, but I agree that the visual appeal exceeds the flavor.

                                    1. BamiaWruz RE: silence9 Sep 22, 2008 06:38 PM

                                      I've tried it and it didn't taste like anything, I call it the "cookies 'n' cream" fruit because that's what it looks like inside, if I can get my hands on a fresh one locally perhaps in it's native country someday I'll give it another go :)

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