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weird and wonderful fruit?

I just listened to a great interview with Adam Leith Gollner, author of The Fruit Hunters, A Story of Nature, Adventure, Commerce and Obsession, on the Splendid Table podcast



and I'm now DYING to find some tasty, special fruit that i have likley never tasted. Unfortunately, most of the fruit he talks about cannot be purchased in the States... but I figure with all the ethnic markets in the city I should be able to round up some good things.
Any reccommendations?
Oh, I'm not a big fan of super..uh... smelly things by the way :)


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  1. without listening to the podcast, can you list some of these fruits?

    1. Mangosteens, rambutans, lychees, longyan, dragon fruit, guavas all curently available in NYC Chinatowns, of course. That is by the way one of my absolute favorite books of the year, of any sort.

      5 Replies
      1. re: buttertart

        the street carts on mulberry on the south side of canal offer these, although there seems to be an explosion of fruit vendors all selling the same stuff up and down canal street. or, hit grand st.

        1. re: buttertart

          Hey! Thanks for the tip.... i picked up a slightly exotic (to me) cactus pear at Fairway today... I didn't really care for it... so seedy and really painful to handle! Maybe it's not best for cutting open and eating as is?

          1. re: strawberrysomething

            I've never eaten a cactus fruit so can't comment. Hie yourself to Chinatown and get some of the Asian fruits.

            1. re: strawberrysomething

              They are very refreshing and juicy on a boiling hot day in the desert (think Israel or Mexico.) I have actually picked them off of a cactus and gobbled then down on the spot.You eat the seeds and have to learn how not to get all of those nasty prickers on your fingers.Native-born Israelis are described as Sabras because their personality is often thought to be similar to the fruit of the plant: tough and prickly on the outside, sweet on the inside.

              1. re: missclaudy

                Another one for the list. Thanks! (And they are such a glorious color inside.)

          2. if anyone else can chime in, I remember reading on these boards about from fruit importer in brooklyn (maybe a russian neighborhood?) that had all manner of exotic stuff, more expensive than any asian or ethnic areas, but complete.

            4 Replies
            1. re: bigjeff

              i remember this too! i think it was brighton beach... something about each piece of fruit being perfect and the owner being kind of a diva, hehe.

                  1. re: lambretta76

                    Man oh man, you can get most of the same fruit for so much less in...Chinatown...

              1. Craving gold kiwis, but can't find them anywhere. Very tasty fruit.

                Look --> http://www.zesprikiwi.com/goldkiwi.htm

                8 Replies
                1. re: Cheese Boy

                  They're 5 for $4.00 on FreshDirect right now, so not *that* rare I would think...

                  1. re: kathryn

                    Grossly overpriced. They're in season now coming in from NZ.
                    I'll get them in the burbs 3/$1 -- no problem.

                  2. re: Cheese Boy

                    they have them in Chinatown as well. How are they different from green kiwis? I don't care for the green ones.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      The gold kiwis taste like melon, banana, and a hint of citrus (lemon). Others will argue that they taste like pineapple and mango. Everyones tastebuds are different I suppose, but either way, the Gold's flavor is rather unique and very good.

                      Gold Kiwi --> http://www.zespri.com/zespri-kiwifrui...

                      1. re: Cheese Boy

                        I love gold kiwis. They are also a bit sweeter as well.

                      2. re: buttertart

                        ya I seen them all over chinatown and flushing, just couldn't get past the weird pinched end (gross I know) but, good to know they are kinda good.

                        1. re: bigjeff

                          Brings all kinds of non-fruit-related things to mind, I acgree.

                    2. Hey, I just found some ginips (also called mamoncillos) for sale on the street in Bushwick. They were being sold by the vendors who also have mango, coconut, etc. on Broadway near Flushing Ave. They are delicious and very portable! They taste similar to lychees, but they have a little of the dry taste of some persimmons. I had never tried them before and was very pleasantly surprised. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamoncillo

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: lveit

                        I've seen those but never tried them - checked the Wikipedia info, they are part of the same family as lychees (as it would appear from the leaf). On the must-try list now, lychees are really my favorite of the "exotic" fruits.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Almost all of the fruit vendors I've seen in the past few years have been selling those - I think they're usually called something like quenepas. Were being sold at the Red Hook ballfields for longer before that. I still haven't tried one as I've heard the lychee comparison and I despise lychees.

                          I'm not trying to knock your discovery - it may be a first for that area. Instead, just wanted to let people know that most of the places I've seen in Downtown Brooklyn, Sunset Park, East Village, LES, etc., have these available.

                          1. re: lambretta76

                            Yes they are all over. A Dominican favorite, no?

                            1. re: buttertart

                              I ate them in Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Funnily enough, they are on the weight watchers lists of fruits (with their calorie content) which I find hilarious; apples, grapefruits,oranges, pears, ginips. I love them and you will too if you adore lychees.

                          2. re: lveit

                            I've known these as "quenepas" and have been seeing them in midtown fruit stands as of the past couple of years. They're a little more tart and less fragrant than lychees, but the texture and skin/fruit/seed configuration is very similar.

                            1. re: 2slices

                              going price is around $1.49/lb in flushing/chinatown, not too bad. don't get any with actual cracks in them; they are all shipped frozen here and it doesn't make too much of a difference; hard to pick a non-water-logged one from a water-logged one, more of a chance thing. tasty and delicious.

                              1. re: bigjeff

                                does the smell linger if i open it in my apt?

                                1. re: 2slices

                                  I usually bring it home, craci kit, wrap the pods in foil or ziplocs and just stow in the freezer, each pod as a "serving"; the fruit is so fatty that it hardly freezes and actually tastes great straight out the freezer; you'll want to toss the husk/shell immediately outside tho but the smell itself? shouldn't linger at all.

                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                    FAB idea !!!!!!!!! Durian sorbet without the fuss!

                            2. NY supermarket, Hong Kong supermarket in elmhurst,,,,r,v to elmhurst av.....very wide variety.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: icelandadam

                                and, the one that is NOT located in the plaza (I think it's hong kong, front door is on 45th avenue) is open later, I think until 10pm which is pretty good for the area. both have decent prices and selection.