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cheap fruit in chinatown

i'm not exactly sure why, but the fruit in chinatown (spadina ave) is ridiculously cheap!

guava's for just over a dollar each, dragonfruit for $1.50 each or 4 for $5, persimmons at 9 for $3....

i haven't dug into the dragonfruit yet but it shows no blemishes and quite a bit of promise. the persimmons are as good as they usually are and fairly large. anyone run into more tasty cheap fruit there?

and for anyone who hasn't, i suggest dropping by...

there've also been some california strawberries at various farmer type markets that are selling for $1 per big container. they're super sweet and full of strawberry goodness. i found mine during a trip to k-w... anyone seen them downtown? i've heard of some up in the woodbridge area. the only problem i'm finding is there's at least one grossly moldy one in the bunch and they last about a week only.

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  1. The fugi apples are always super cheap and huge - unlike the ones you can get at Dominion, and similar to those you can get at T&T but for a much higher price.

    Go Chinatown!

    1. i find that the fruit and veggies in chinatown always come from far places, never do you see ontario products. therefore they are always fake, shiny and tasteless. if you want to be fair to yourself head over to kensigton and buy a bit higher quality. i think it's money well spent. (there are a few exceptions where you can get quality in china town, but i'm talking about the really cheap stuff).

      4 Replies
      1. re: gastronom

        i'm not unfamiliar with the ways of chinatown.. but my post is more directed to the fact that these things are actually cheap and delicious.

        this is a bit of an anomaly for me and i think others should take advantage of it. besides, kensington doesn't exactly provide me with local persimmons or dragonfruit. if you don't want to bite... well more for me to then.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          this is not in chinatown but koreatown - on the north-east corner of bloor st west at manning (i think), there is a little fruit market run by chinese and they have very good quality produce (fruits, veggies, herbs incl fresh basil, etc) at very low prices... when i'm in koreatown, I always hit this place and can't seem to get away without spending at least $10 and 5 bags of goodies.... today for instance, they had smallish persimmons and I bought two boxes at $10 (each box had about 90-100 fruit!)

          1. re: berbere

            That market is fantastic. When I was a student I bought most of my produce there because it was good quality and extremely affordable (I think I used to pay 1.99 for salad greens that would cost $6 at mainstream grocery stores).

            I too eat locally as much as possible, but in the winter it's nice to have a place to go to get a break from the turnip and potatoes.

        2. re: gastronom

          If, like me, you want tropical fruit, you can't beat Chinatown. I'm not that interested in Ontario produce, and the tropical stuff, I find (apart from bananas) generally costs a fortune at the regular grocery stores compared to Chinatown's prices.

        3. I really support eating local produce but the fact is that if you restrict yourself to local produce in Ontario, you can't get bananas, oranges, pineapples, mangoes, lemons, limes, and many many other items that are all packed with nutrients and delicious.

          If you choose local greenhouse-grown items in the off-season, you are definitely helping the environment by avoiding the emissions caused by trucking produce long distances (e.g. from California or Florida or something), but greenhouse items have that generic taste.

          Living in Ontario, there is unfortunately only a very short timeframe in the year when you have a wide availability of fresh, great tasting produce.

          Oh and by the way, I recently moved to Edmonton. The Strathcona Farmer's Market here has a very strict policy of only selling things grown within 100 km, which sounds great but the result is that for a significat part of the year, the only things you can find at the market are potatoes, carrots, onions, and rutabegas. We import food for a reason.

          1 Reply
          1. re: egon61

            You have to be careful though. A few times, I bought cartons of blueberry, raspberries and blackberries in a hurry when it was dark out. The reason they were cheap was because they were all 'mouldy' in the middle and I ended up throwing all the cartons out.

            I would pay more attention to anything that is in carton or wrapped.

          2. Before I get yelled at for being too negative, let me give a plug for D&Y Market, at the corner of Yonge and Davisville. They always have a great selection of well-priced produce (better than grocery stores) and carry an admirable selection of Ontario products during the summer and fall. I guess my point is to buy local when you can and when it makes sense, but by being too strict, in Ontario you just end up missing out due to our climate.

            1. "the only problem i'm finding is there's at least one grossly moldy one in the bunch and they last about a week only."

              That's because they've been on a truck for at least week. mmmm... truck taste.

              Cheap or not, there's no way they can possibly taste as good as the first local berries in June.

              1 Reply
              1. re: SherylKirby


                yum! where can i get some of these june berrys?


              2. Also the mangos are to die for in chinatown!

                Lychee's are awesome there.

                Soursop, papayas, star fruits, etc etc.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Mike Tyson

                  I love exotic fruits and buy a lot of my fruit in Chinatown. I think the quality is generally very good to excellent (although I've had the rotten berry experience and agree that one has to proceed with some caution).

                  However, the other day I started to wonder about food safety. If some of the fruit is literally coming from Asia (and because I asked, I know the rambutan I've been eating this week came from Vietnam)... especially given China's disastrous record with toxins and food, is there any reason for me to be concerned about what I'm ingesting? Maybe this is all paranoia and conspiracy theory... any thoughts?

                  1. re: Rabbit


                    My parents (who happen to be from South Vietnam and escaped by boat around 1975) have also mentioned their worries about stuff coming from Asia in general.

                    I think yes, we should do our research b4 purchasing fruits from Chinatown. Also I think in moderation it would not do too much harm...

                    However having said that ^, what about our OWN fruits and meats here in Ontario and Canada in general???

                    What about the chemicals and sprays on our own fruits? What about the hormones and such pumped into our local chicken, beef, pork???

                    The best you can do is go organic or something... and even then who knows... regardless you will be missing out on tropical fruits/veggies... unless you get your stuff from Brazil and such... but how can we even be sure that toxins are not being sprayed onto fruits/veggies in S-America???

                    1. re: Mike Tyson

                      "what about our OWN fruits and meats here in Ontario and Canada in general???
                      What about the chemicals and sprays on our own fruits? What about the hormones and such pumped into our local chicken, beef, pork???"

                      Good point, Mike T., but at least we can have some satisfaction in knowing exactly what we're eating in food from Ontario. I'm not sure that we can have the same confidence about food products from more remote parts of the world.

                  2. re: Mike Tyson

                    Yes! The yellow ataulfo mangos, when properly ripened, are pure bliss. They melt in your mouth like butter and the flavour is so rich and sweet.

                    The pomelos this year were fantastic, too.

                    I was also very surprised when I first went to Chinatown and being able to buy starfruit for $0.50 each as opposed to the $5.00 that Loblaws was charging at the time for smaller, inferior fruit.

                    1. re: vorpal

                      the mangoes you get in Chinatown for $2 each in the summertime taste like wine!


                      p.s Western food markets that attempt to sell tropical fruits/veggies cannot compare to ethnic shops that sell way better items for way less ;)