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Dec 7, 2006 09:04 PM

Sha Tin Yau -- Is this pomelo? How to pick out the sweetest ones?

Since I posted a few months back on my local SF board in search of the "grapefruit" I had in Macau, I've been keeping an eye out for pomelo (what fellow chowhounds have supplied as the name). Last weekend I saw what appeared to be 2 kinds of grapefruit in Chinatown, and asked the cashier what the difference was in hopes that I had found the elusive fruit. But no such luck -- the cashier's answer was the fruit was just price differently due to size. But they are all grapefruits.

When I asked my Mom about it, she gave me the chinese name: sha tin yau... but even she's been looking locally for it and can't find it. So now I'm scratching my head -- is sha tin yau pomelo? And if so, why are asian markets not stocking these?

Sha tin yau has a whiteish flesh and is sweet, not tart at all. But in most other aspects (at least according to my fading memory of that one experience) it is similar to grapefruit. I seem to remember the sha tin yau also had yellowish orange skin, somewhat like an orange... but that could be faulty memory.

Edited: I do know that some pomelos match my description of the sha tin yau... but not all pomelos. How do I find the white-fleshed ones, the ones that are sweet and not tart? Are tthe skins more yellow?

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  1. Pomelos are white fleshed with a yellow rind and are sweeter but less juicy than grapefruits. They also have a very thick rind with a lot of pith. They taste distinctly different from grapefruits and are definitely not big grapefruits. I just had them last month in Vietnam and the ones in Asia are pretty similar to the ones here (though juicier). You should be able to get pomelos in any large Asian market or Chinatown in the Bay Area as they are pretty common. Here in LA, Costco even has them and they're pretty good. The biggest thing you should watch out for in state side pomelos is that they can be dry so look for pomelos that look heavy for their size as they tend to be juicier.

    1. After looking at some pictures of pomelo online, it appears there may be a few types of it. the "Sha Tin Yau" that I'm also familiar with is yellow/yellowish-freen and has pale yellow flesh.

      However, I also notice that some pomelos are green and have pinkish flesh, like a ruby grapefruit.

      1. finally... i have my sha tin yau fix... I was in the city over the weekend running errands in Chinatown and happened to walk by a huge pile of them. bought 3 to bring home... although they are not as sweet as I remember them (my dear golden memory might not be very accurate at this point) but they did hit the spot. I only wish I'd bought more, like a whole carload. I've already finished them.

        So now I know how to tell the difference. Compared to grapefruit, these sha tin yau are more asian-pearish shaped, with one end elongated. Skin is more yellowish than green. And they had this hole/space at the bottoms, like a gap in the skin corresponding to the pith in the center.