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Cool/delicious fruits from around the world?

Ever encounter any insanely tasty or just plain weird fruits in your travels? In the winter of 2005, I had a delicious cherimoya-type-fruit in Brazil whose name I just can't seem to remember. It had green skin and black seeds like a normal cherimoya, but a bumpier, segmented texture on the outside, and it was out-of-this-world custardy and delicious.

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  1. I still remember my first ruby grapefruit in Bangkok in 1975.... Beyond heavenly!!!!

    We used to have them every morning for breakfast..Never ever found one here that comes anywhere close to the sweetness of those Thai ones all those years ago.

    1. My latest trip to Manila left me with a burning desire to find Philippine mango and chico here in California. Alas, as much as I adore the Mexican(?) mango readily available in the States, even the best cannot compare to perfectly ripe, juicy, intense Philippine mango. If anyone knows where I can find these, and other native-to-the-Philippines fruits, PLEASE advise!!

      7 Replies
      1. re: riceflour

        I don't know where you live, but here in Los Angeles, Philippine mangoes, also called "champagne" mangoes, are sold by the caseload at any Asian store worth its fish sauce... 99 Ranch, for example, Shun Fat, and Hong Kong Supermarket. A case usually contains 12-15 mangoes and costs about $10.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Champagne mangoes! I've been staring at them for months now, wondering if they're the same thing.

          I'm in KTown, so 99Ranch is a bit of a drive, but HK Supermarket is right down the street. I'm heading there first thing tomorrow. Thanks again!

          BTW--any word on other fruits? Chico, especially. I have a great fondness for those bizarre, brown sugar-tasting bits of goodness.

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Are those mangoes imported from the Philippines? I really haven't been to 99 Ranch recently. I know for a couple of years now they grow a variety in Mexico known as "manila" mangoes. It looks very much like the mangoes from the philippines, and really sweet. Actually, the best mangoes in the philippines are sweet, yet it still has some acidity that the "manila" mangoes lack. Some of the best mangoes in the philippines are from an island know as Guimaras. A couple of years ago, my brother bought me a case of mangoes imported from there. They were good, but not as good because they were harvested early for the travel.

            1. re: Rodeline

              I haven't tried the "Manila" mangoes yet, but I hope they're the same. The only time I've had the Philippine mangoes like the ones in the Philippines is throughout the rest of Asian--HK, Japan, etc. I'll give the "Manila" ones a try and report back.

              1. re: riceflour

                I don't know offhand if they're actually imported from the Philippines -- I don't have any in my kitchen right now -- but they are definitely more acidic than your "normal" rounder Mexican mangoes -- they pair really well with com tam nuoc dua (sweet broken rice cooked in coconut milk).

              2. re: Rodeline

                I've been told that those 'manila' mangoes are grown around Acapulco, and they actually originated from Manila, transplanted to Mexico during the Spanish era via the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade.

                1. re: aardvarkian

                  Ditto.... Phillipine style mangos have been cultivated in Mexico for about 400 years. Quite good.

          2. Papaya at Veracruz, Mexico.

            Nothing special or unique, but it was just so amazingly pure, fresh and sweet. Nothing like it here in the States.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              I had the most amazing papaya in a fruit carving class I took in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was unlike any papaya I've had before or since. I did a lot more eating than carving, and the school sent me back to my hotel with a tupperware full of the leftovers

            2. Lansones and rambutan from SE Asia, Acai products from Brasil, mangosteens from Burma, carambola, "mountain apples" from my childhood visits to Hawaii (no clue what they were), some small dark berries from here in Colombia--can't remember the name; after they became too expensive. AND...all the fruit here in Colombia.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                Sam,

                Funny, my first thought was of mountain apple because I always thought it was unique to hawaii.

                Per the referenced website: Native to Malaysia. Has been spread by humans through much of southeast Asia and the Pacific islands. Now common growing wild on the Hawaiian islands. The Malay apple (or mountain apple as it is known in Hawaii) was an important fruit of the Polynesians, and was later distributed to the America's on one of Captain Bligh's voyages.

                I also love "fresh" lychee, although alergies prevent me from eating more than one or two a year. And don't forget star fruit!

                1. re: KaimukiMan

                  HA! my mum sent me some star fruit in the post only a couple of weeks ago. whilst still aromatic and exotic, eating them was not as enjoyable as the smell and notion of them. schade

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    In Jamaica they call the Malay apple an Otaheite apple. It didnt have all that much flavor but the neighbor had a huge tree so we ate them.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan

                        Actually I miss having pomalaca, a fruit in Venezuela. From what I understand, it's malay apple as well. http://www.flickr.com/photos/billkral...

                        They're popular in Venezuela but they're not commercially grown, I believe. They still end up in some dishes nevertheless. I found some pomalaca trees growing in Miami, commercially, but I've yet to find any stores selling the fruits.

                        They're said to be rose-water flavored apples. I couldn't think of a better description.

                        Another fruit I enjoy is sapodilla (or nispero in Venezuela). It's said to taste like pear soaked in brown sugar. It's sweet, but makes for a good milk shake. I had a shake made out of that at Los Pinarenos fruit market in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood.

                    1. Rambutan, salaks and mangosteen...oh my, heaven. Many memories attached to eating them as well.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: maria lorraine

                        Isn't that funny.. I So don't consider mangosteens rare or unusual!!!! They, along with rambutans, custard apples, fresh lychees and more are all readily available her ein OZ!!!

                        1. re: purple goddess

                          Yes, but can you get bacuri, pupunha, camu-camu, babacu, and uxi? So there, take that pg!

                          1. re: purple goddess

                            You are indeed a lucky goddess, mangosteens and an outdoor oven! Just wondering if there are any fruits in North America that you enjoy and can't get in Oz... Soon we will be able to enjoy mangosteens here...irradiated ones.

                            1. re: maria lorraine

                              There are plenty of weird and exotic fruits in Queensland we can't get here in Melb.. chocolate pudding fruit, champagne melon, strawberry guavas, just to name a few...

                              1. re: purple goddess

                                The chocolate pudding fruit, is that something like the chocolate persimmon? I had a chocolate persimmon in Hawaii on the big island, it looked like a persimmon but the flesh was chocolate brown, and it had a milder taste than the regular persimmon.

                                I bought a mamey in one of th emarkets in Havana, and I have never seen it since. Is it available in the U.S, or Canada?

                                I also had what looked like a tiny Kiwi in south Korea once. I am assuming it is a chinese gooseberry. It was collected from the mountain side thatmorning, and was being sold in front of one of the temples. It was really sweet and much tastier than the regular kiwi!

                                1. re: moh

                                  Mamey is widely available in grocery stores in Miami. I've purchased it from a street vendor in a Latino neighborhood in DC. My favoirite kind of milk shake.

                                  1. re: moh

                                    Sounds like it. In Miami, I had something called sapote, a persimmon looking fruit but the inside was a very mild tasting chocolate looking thing. My preference is for the regular persimmon.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      Yes this sounds right. The more I learn about sapote, the more I am convinced that the Chocolate Persimmon I had was a type of sapote.