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Chinatown fruit report [Old]

Last weekend saw the following notable "exotic" fruits on the stands: guava, rambutan, longan, tiny clementines, and the most exciting - carambolas (shijia in Pinyin). They look somewhat like pinecones (of the greenish color of ancient Chinese patinated bronzes) and taste somewhat like a cross between banana and pineapple. Pounce! (I particularly like the vendor on the east side of Mulberry at Canal. A nice lady and her stuff is always top quality.)

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  1. I believe you may be confusing the names of the fruits. Carambolas are actually star-fruit, which I've seen on Canal Street at one of the stands near Mulberry. However, I've been curious about the fresh pinecone-like fruit you described. All I know about them is that the signs refer to them as "sugar-apples." I'm glad to read that they're good.

    Buttertart, how does one determine if the fruit is ripe, and how does one go about eating a sugar-apple? Is the whole thing edible, or do you have to peel it first? What should the texture be like? Thanks in advance and thanks for posting (I've been meaning to ask about the fruit).

    5 Replies
    1. re: BklynBlaise

      Shoot, yes, a type of CHERIMOYAS is what I meant, was rushing as usual, and they are the sugar-apples. They are a bit yielding when ripe (like a medium-ripe avocado). You break them apart to eat them (could cut them I suppose) - each of the little points on the outside represents a seed on the inside which is not to be eaten. The texture is similar to banana.

      1. re: buttertart

        Custard-apples? One of my favorite fruits.
        They are wonderful in milkshakes. I wish I were in Bombay having one right now!

        1. re: racer x

          whoa they have those here? racerx - the last time i had one of those was in a milkshake in bombay in 2002 and it was so damn good, i got one like everyday

          1. re: Lau

            They were all over Chinatown in the late summer and early autumn last year.

      2. re: BklynBlaise

        Vietnamese word for them is "na", pronounced exactly as written. There are several kinds, the ones we get in NYC are of the softer, sweeter type. They are soft to the touch and have nice fragrant when ripe. If you happen to buy green ones, put them in a bowl and cover with uncooked rice, they'll ripen up really fast. Peel the outer skin then break them into chunks, whichever order you like.
        Fun note: I used to wash the black seeds and play mancala with them.

        1. re: newportt2004

          Yes, but the small ones, about the size of an average avocado or smaller. And greenish-blackish on the outside. I remember eating ones exactly like these when I lived in Taipei - in fact they were the first unusual - to me - fruits we bought when we were first there. The ones in these photos are enormous, I never saw any that size. (PS the fruit stand sign calligraphy makes me nostalgic for the precious island.)

        2. I'm glad you had a good one. The one I bought was truly unappetizing even after ripening, and turned my mouth into pucker.

          I miss the ones in Taiwan and Brazil.

          1. Further to the above, there were also a couple of varieties of Asian pears and I think I saw pomelos which should be everywhere given the approach of Zhongqiujie (10/3 this year). I will keep these reports up at least biweekly since we're in Chinatown at least that often.

            1 Reply
            1. re: buttertart

              Update: status quo - nothing much new or out of the ordinary - still rambutans, longyan, and 1 vendor with shijia /custard apples for $8.00 the pound, lots of pomelos, several types of Asian pears, nice-looking guavas.

            2. Saw the following today: lots of persimmons (the flat ones), pomelos, guavas, several types of Asian pears, longyan (wish the lychee season were longer than the longyan one), papayas, dragon fruit, durian, small bananas. In the less exotic category, several different kinds of grapes, small watermelons, mandarin oranges, and very nice raspberries (at $2.00 the box, at Bayard and Mulberry).

              1. Springtime brings new and interesting items to the street vendors - small yellow mangoes 6 for $5, dragon fruit, tiny clementines, guavas, large star fruit imported from Taiwan, tons of extremely cheap ($1/lb) strawberries, some of which look better than others, and bags of fresh mangosteen ($9/lb) at the vendor on the east side of Mulberry just below Canal. Chinese pears, various grapes, etc. Lychees soon I hope...

                18 Replies
                1. re: buttertart

                  Where may I find those strawberries for $1/lb? Same vendor on Mulberry? Not super-familiar with Chinatown but all this Chinatown fruit talk has got me intrigued! I love fresh fruits.

                  1. re: uwsister

                    You must go in that case. Sundays there are many stalls along Canal - everybody had the strawberries at the same price yesterday.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Apparently the strawberry crops in California and Florida are coinciding right now so Strawberries are super cheap. Buy buy buy!!!

                      1. re: heWho

                        Yes, so much so that this rather distressing news item ran recently...
                        http://abcnews.go.com/WN/strawberry-f...

                        1. re: buttertart

                          After reading this I ran out to the local Publix here in Miami looking for cheap strawberries. They were still $3 a pound - not exactly cheap.

                          Visitors always wonder why we don't have fresher and cheaper fruit here in South Florida than we do.

                          1. re: racer x

                            Because it's all shipped north I assume...that is a complete drag.

                      2. re: buttertart

                        I will be out there this Sunday, weather permitting!

                    2. re: buttertart

                      Those small yellow mangoes (I paid $5 for 4 on Mott Street south of Grand) are wonderful! I think they are called "Champagne mangoes."

                      And BTW,the price of papaya in C'town is a lot better than the price at Harlem Fairway, which charges $1.99 per pound and therefore, a large papaya totalled $6.50!

                      1. re: erica

                        I forgot about the papayas (not one of my favorites, except green in som tum) - but they're there in abundance.

                        1. re: erica

                          Yes, Ataulfo Mango or Champagne Mango (Champagne is the trademarked brand name). Haitian in origin, typically.

                        2. re: buttertart

                          No lychees yesterday, no particular additions to this (there were a lot of those "champagne" - little tiny - grapes yesterday). Strawberries were a buck and a half, apparently the glut is passing. And no tomatoes from Leamington, Ont., sniff sniff (they were terrific, nice and tart).

                          1. re: buttertart

                            Is Sunday the best day to go? I walked by on a weekday last week (I don't remember the day) and didn't find that many vendors. Sorry I'm so clueless!

                            1. re: uwsister

                              There are many vendors every day---look along Grand Street east of Bowery and on the block of Mott between Grand and Hester. You have to go inside some of the stores to find the entire selection.

                              1. re: uwsister

                                For the maximum number of street vendors on Canal and side streets, Saturday and Sunday are best. There are always vendors and produce stores open however.

                                1. re: buttertart

                                  Thank you erica and buttertart! This is very exciting!

                                2. re: uwsister

                                  whenever I do my fruit/produce shopping in chinatown, I start at canal and broadway on the south side of canal and make my way east, checking those north/south spots and the intersection of canal and bayard (?) and keep on canal until elizabeth and head north, (stop by the Hong Kong Supermarket to see what they got), and then east onto grand and hit all those markets (decent vietnamese market just south of grand, on bowery) that are on forsyth, chrystie, etc. until eldridge. if I still haven't got what I wanted at that point, I then head south on Eldridge back to East Broadway and then check all those markets from the bridge on over to the F stop down there. those 10-15 blocks or so (especially later in the day) yield plenty of finds (and usually busted fingers from carrying many bags by the end).

                                  -----
                                  Hong Kong Supermarket
                                  157 Hester St, New York, NY 10013

                                3. re: buttertart

                                  Yes, champagne or atualfo mangos I find are the tastiest, I find them a little less soapy. And I found a lady there in mid-April on Canal who had slightly beaten up and slightly wrinkly ones that were going 3 for $1. They were so sweet and juicy. She was next to the "gai dan tzai" seller.

                              2. Down Mulberry on the east side there's a fruit and veg store that opened recently - they had tomatoes in clear plastic bags last Sunday that were imported from Leamington, Ontario (big tomato country in the summer and greenhouse country in the winter and close to where I grew up) - bought some for old time's sake and they are the best greenhouse tomatoes I've had in ages, pleasantly acid, not like the usually blah ones from Holland and Mexico.

                                1. HI Buttertart,
                                  Have you seen lychee fruit this spring yet? I am calling all over the US and Canada to find it. Thanks!! K

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: ksnyder2925

                                    Not yet, I'm always on the lookout because they're my favorite. Will post as soon as I see them!

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      lychees normally hit china town may 15- may 20, but i suspect they will be delayed by 2-4 weeks this year as florida (where they are grown) had a really long and cold winter this year.

                                      1. re: bigfresser

                                        But the really good ones come from Taiwan and the lady at the corner of Mulberry and Canal has them as soon as they're available.

                                        1. re: buttertart

                                          anyone seen custard apples yet this year? A nice ripe one would hit the spot. I like to cut them in half and scoop out the flesh and seeds with a spoon.

                                          1. re: missmasala

                                            Believe it or not, I dreamt about these last night, no lie. I think they come out later in the year - I saw them in September last year.

                                            1. re: missmasala

                                              The street stall at the corner of Bayard and Mulberry had large (grapefruit-sized) cherimoyas yesterday. I've only ever had the smaller ones and am not enough of a fan (although I like them) to buy a big one.

                                    2. Things are shaping up - yesterday in addition to the old favorites there were lots of mangosteens (still $8/lb) and rambutans (don't recall the price) as well as tons of small yellow mangoes dirt cheap (as little as 2 for a dollar). Large cherimoyas at the stall on the corner of Bayard and Mulberry, Bayard side.
                                      Seems to me rambutans immediately precede lychees in Chinatown markets - roll on the day that they appear, I can't wait! None yet.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: buttertart

                                        Very much looking forward to lychees myself!

                                        1. re: uwsister

                                          Look for the ones with the small seeds - my favorite lady has those when they come in (displays one cut open so you can see the difference). They're sometimes a bit more expensive but there's much more lychee to them.

                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            Thank you so much for the tip! Who's your favorite lady? I promise not to hog-buy those lychees ;)

                                            1. re: uwsister

                                              The one at the eastern corner of Mulberry and Canal. And you better not! ;-)

                                        2. re: buttertart

                                          I also love the fruit lady at the corner of Mulberry and Canal. I always buy my lychees from her but I haven't shopped around that much, so I'm glad to hear that you like her too! I was at her stand last week and bought some rambutans (not as good as lychees) and a truly fantastic mango, which cost $1 and was well worth it. She had decent oranges as well (2 for $1), even though the season is just about over. I have to say I am very tempted by the mangosteens but at $8/lb I'm feeling a little gunshy -- it might well be worth it, though, if they are good. Has anyone tried them?

                                          I also went into the newish Vietnamese "natural food" store on the E side of Mulberry just south of canal and I saw they had fresh juices and smoothies at very good prices. I am thinking that's the place where you found those tomatoes? I was attracted to the juice bar but the veggies looked somewhat tired.

                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                            I tried the mangosteens that were around a year or two ago - they had been frozen - a shadow of the real thing (oh, you mangosteens in Shanghai in April 2007...). The ones there last Sunday did not appear to have been frozen. They aren't cheap anywhere and the price doesn't go down, so if you're interested, you'll have to bite the bullet. They taste somewhere between a lychee and a banana, a completely unique taste, sort of the uni of the fruit world. (Don't eat the seeds in the segments.)
                                            Yes it was (the tomatoes), but they unfortunately seem to have been a one time thing. Probably a job lot they got to sell cheap. Darn it all anyway!
                                            My husband got a honeydew juice and they used mainly canteloupe to make it, so he wasn't thrilled (honeydew yes, canteloupe no thanks). I liked it though!

                                            1. re: buttertart

                                              The last time I had mangosteens, I was in Thailand! And, yes, they were delicious. That's why I'm so hesitant to try them here - they can't possibly be the same. Did you ever read that wonderful article in the NYT by R.W. Apple?

                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                Yes, I love his writing - did you see/read Far Flung and Well-Fed, the collection of his work? (I don't think they can be as good as in Asia, but it's kind of like sex, even middling is better than none.)

                                                1. re: Westminstress

                                                  The first time I had mangosteens was in Vietnam a few years back...and they were the most delicious, plump, juicy fruit I've ever had.

                                                  I tried them in Chinatown last summer, with high expectations. Unfortunately, I found them to be sour and simultaneously so ripe they were browning.

                                                  If you know where to find good ones in Chinatown, let me know! Otherwise, I'll wait until I'm back in SE Asia.

                                                  1. re: monamiestephanie

                                                    I haven't bought any this year (too cheap to lash out on them and then find they're not so hot) but thew says the ones in the white net bags are quite good. Last year I believe the ones on sale had been frozen, the ones this year apparently not.

                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      some are, some arent it depends on the source. I usally go by touching, if they don't have some yield, is pass (actually I only figured this out this year, last year I simply ASSUMED that mangosteens needed a heavy duty kitchen knife to saw open) The only catch is, the fruit seller who have good mangosteens\ KNOW they have good magosteens, and charge accordingly.

                                          2. The Lady of Mulberry and Canal graciously sold me just a pound ($9.00)of Mangosteens because i got sticker shock when she told me the price of the bag of them would be $28.00. Now i wish i bought them all. I enjoyed every one of them. MMMM Her mangoes and grapes were cheap and delicious.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ciomar

                                              Good to know that they're good - that is awfully gracious, isn't it??? She always has the best lychees going too.

                                            2. Lychee alert! When I saw cherries pop up at every stall on Grand street earlier this week, I started to wonder if the lychees might be in as well (these two fruits always seem to come to Chinatown at the same time). Bought some lychees this morning from the Mulberry lady ... and finished them already! They were very sweet and juicy. $6/pound. Other vendors had them also. I also bought cherries and a couple of small mangoes, but I haven't tried them yet.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                Oooh ooh ooh, must get to Chinatown this weekend. $6 is cheaper than they usually are for the first ones. You're right about the cherries, they had some the week before but they were on the poor side - are thye good now?

                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                  Haven't tried them yet but they don't look spectacular. It's hard for me to wait on the cherries, though, because I just love them.

                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                    Same here, also looking forward to the sour cherries you can get in the Greenmarkets in July.

                                              2. Has anyone seen lychees available yet?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: lychee610

                                                  From above in this thread:

                                                  Lychee alert! When I saw cherries pop up at every stall on Grand street earlier this week, I started to wonder if the lychees might be in as well (these two fruits always seem to come to Chinatown at the same time). Bought some lychees this morning from the Mulberry lady ... and finished them already! They were very sweet and juicy. $6/pound. Other vendors had them also. I also bought cherries and a couple of small mangoes, but I haven't tried them yet.

                                                  Westminstress May 25, 2010 11:10AM

                                                2. Is it to soon for snow apples?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                    Think so, believe they're late June/early July. Have only seen them once or twice in the past few years, I think you have to know what they are to want to buy them.

                                                    1. re: scoopG

                                                      I remember loving snow apples in Taipei - really cold - what an interesting texture. The bright pink bell-shaped waxy outsides ones - that's what you're looking for I presume?

                                                    2. As an incentive to those who haven't tried mangosteen, here's a pic of some of the ones I scoffed at breakfast one glorious day in May in Shanghai...the ones here can't ever reach this standard, but even as a shadow of this they are worth eating. Look at the color of the inside of the peel...can I have a dress that color please...

                                                       
                                                      16 Replies
                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        has anyone ever seen wax apples in NY chinatown? They go by a number of other names, in chinese i think they are call lian bu. i've never seen them... i just got back from taiwan and am addicted to these things.

                                                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                          they are potentially the best fruit ever, they're called lian wu in chinese. I've seen them once or twice, but they looked bad

                                                          part of the reason they are so good in TW is that they are very fresh. probably one of my favorite fruits ever

                                                          1. re: Lau

                                                            You think so? They're very refreshing and tasty but are nowhere near as tasty as lichees in my opinion (lichees are my number one top favoritest fruit ever ever).

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              definitely, i don't like very sweet fruits...i generally like more refreshing type fruits like lian wu or pears. I can eat lian wu everyday, i couldn't eat lichee everyday

                                                              a little bit of that brown powder sugar stuff they put on it and ure good to go

                                                              1. re: Lau

                                                                I can see that preference, my husband doesn't like sweet fruits (particularly musky fruits) at all. Give him a basket of red sour cherries or a sour apple and he's a happy man.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Agree with buttertart: I'd much rather have something sweet, especially fresh longans (hey, anyone ever seen them in chinatown?).

                                                                  Some other pics of lian wu here, for anyone who's interested:
                                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/580425

                                                                  1. re: racer x

                                                                    They have longyan later in the summer all over Chinatown. I like lychees much better, must say.
                                                                    Lian wu are such a cute fruit, looks sort of extraterrestrial.

                                                              2. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                The bright pink waxy bell-shaped ones, right? I think of them as now apples. Lian wu sounds right come to think of it. I've seen them at the stall at Bayard and Mulberry 2 years in the last 5, in late July?, bought them once, they were quite good but there's of course no (tropical) fruit in NY to truly match that in East Asia that I've seen.

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  yeah, i think we're talking about the same thing. wow, i had no idea you could get them here. but their juicy crunch is so refreshing and frankly, i just can't find it in any other fruit i've ever tried. defionitely not for those with sweet tooths though, as they are not exceedingl sweet. will have to keep an eye out for them.

                                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                    If/when I see them will post. They are good.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      I've only had lian wu a couple of times in NYC. This was several years ago and they were really red but REALLY sour. So bad. Maybe by now they are sweeter? I doubt they will ever compare to Taiwanese lian wu. Please keep us updated. I am excited!

                                                                      1. re: teresa

                                                                        yah they should not be sour like that...they should taste somewhere in between an apple and a korean pear

                                                                        1. re: teresa

                                                                          Good lian wu (or jambu air, as I know them) should be tart but not as sour as a lemon. They aren't sweet fruits.

                                                                  2. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                    I had to Google "wax apple." These are called jambu air in Malaysia. Lychees are my favorite fruit, but I like jambu air quite a lot: They are tart, crunchy, and watery. But like Lau, I've never seen one that looked worth a damn in New York. Unless you find some that are a pinkish color and firm to the touch, don't buy them.

                                                                    1. re: Pan

                                                                      I have seen lian wu here twice and bought them once in 21 years in NYC (ate dozens in Taipei). The ones I got were firm and fuchsia-colored. The texture of the fruit was decent, and the flavor light but tartish, maybe not quite as exciting as ones I remember, but it was nice to have lian wu in my mouth again.

                                                                2. mangosteens are down to $6/lb but I can't speak to their taste; the starfruit are out as well but none looked particularly good; DaveCook's recent post also on jackfruit (from the single-selection fruit place on the north south side of Canal):
                                                                  http://www.eatingintranslation.com/20...

                                                                  36 Replies
                                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                                    I find starfruit a bit less than truly thrilling, a bit blah. Love that alien-looking (and fairly blah) dragon fruit though. Fruits that come in lipstick colors are oddly appealing!

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      i agree i don't like starfruit at all...maybe just a personal thing though as they are pretty popular

                                                                      1. re: Lau

                                                                        i figure anyone who would appreciate lian-wu would appreciate starfruit/carambola right? in a not-too-sweet but pure texture/water kind of way.

                                                                        of course I'm going to gloat a little right now . . . . going on a month-long asia tour this summer: seoul and then shanghai and then taiwan! which means insane amounts of tropical fruit all day long. in the meantime, I'll just stick with whatever I can get down in Chinatown/Flushing/Elmhurst.

                                                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                                                          I hate you bigjeff. No Asia trip since 2008. Poor me...

                                                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                                                            starfruit is alot more tart than lian wu and doesn't have that crunchiness that i like (i love korean pears for that reason too)

                                                                            I'll be in Shanghai and HK in two weeks, so you don't totally have me beat...although I sort of wish I was going to taiwan now

                                                                            1. re: Lau

                                                                              Lau, have you had really fresh starfruit and lian wu just off the tree? Because I have, many times, and I'm here to say that at least in Malaysia, starfruit is sweet though with some acid, like other citrus fruits (oranges, for example, not lemons), and lian wu is tarter. I suspect this is a case of different varieties.

                                                                            2. re: bigjeff

                                                                              it's been almost 4 years since I've been back so I am really looking forward to it; and, first time visits to Seoul and Shanghai as well.

                                                                              1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                Shanghai is amazing, you will love it. Going to the World Expo?

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  yup, that'll be part of the itinerary for sure. and other than that, a sampling of the finest cuisine that the city has to offer!

                                                                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                    I'm so jealous, we didn't have a bad meal the whole time we were there (2 weeks in 2007, 10 days in 2008). You could take the bullet train to Suzhou and poke around, go to my favorite restaurant in all of the China that I've visited, the Wang Si, and go back to Shanghai all in a day (like 25 mins each way on the bullet train).

                                                                                2. re: bigjeff

                                                                                  I am envious! I was in Seoul and Tokyo last Feb (2009) and I miss both cities so much (I spent lots of time in both cities growing up.) There are so much good food in both cities. You will have a great time chowing in Seoul!

                                                                                3. re: bigjeff

                                                                                  i like starfruit. a bit more distintive taste which i appreciate. but the texture just can't be beat on a lian-wu. i also love this special type of oranges in taiwan, i think they are called pong gam. maybe out of season, but so yum.

                                                                                  1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                    Can you please post the characters for the oranges? Describe the oranges and when they're in season over there? Easily peeled as a tangerine or not so easily as a navel orange? Size? Flavor? I remember exceptional oranges (with green peels) and mandarins sold on the twigs with leaves attached in Taipei - also wonderful large green-skinned lemons. Would love to have any of these again!

                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                      those green lemos sound like they could be Ichang lemons, which tecnically aren't lemons at all (theyre a cross between a pomelo and a fruit called a Ichang papeda) The bad news is, I don't know where you would find one in this country. The good news is, if you ever do find one, and you have a decent sized backyard you can probably get it to grow outside, since one of the effects of being part Ichang is being extremely cold hardy (for a citrus); they actually can take temps down to 15-20F confortably
                                                                                      (does a little web seach) Oh, I actually found someone with trees (http://mckenzie-farms.com/photo.htm) not pushing just informing

                                                                                      1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                        Wow, I actually have a back yard now, I will look into this! Thanks! The flavor was slightly sweeter than a regular lemon. I thought they were just not gassed to make them yellow (on the lines of the oranges being untreated).

                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                          That site is great, I had no idea there were such cold-hardy citrus. The Ichang lemon doesnt' look like the ones I'm talking about, which are the size of a big Eureka but no bigger.

                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                            Actually reding the descriptions I'm wondering if waht you had might havbe been the Taiching, not the Ichang. I one complaint I heard about the Ichang (and the main reason it isn't being pimped in every home and garden catlough that offers fruit trees) is that the fruit tastes a bit flat. The Taiching sounds a bit closer in terms of the flavor and the size seems more in line with a "normal" lemon
                                                                                            Incidentally you may want to look into a few of the other trees as well. I'm planning on getting a yuzu at somepoint, as well as being basically as cold hardy as the Ichang, it has the advatage of being able to fruit when it is only 2 or 3 feet tall (even shorter for the grafted trees Makenzie offers) which means that it can actually be kept in a big pot and brought inside in the winter for possible wintertime fresh citrus (one one masters how to hand pollinate a citrus tree, not a lot of pollinating insect inside the house in winter )

                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                              The others do look interesting and the indoor idea is very nice - what about pollinating, how to do? Do they self-polinate outside?

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                Outside yes, at least in the summer (bees love citrus blossoms) inside you have to learn to do it yourself. I admit I've never done it (the only citrus tree I have at the moment is a lemon I grew from the pit of a rather odd fruit (chartruese in color, unusually aromatic (possibly actually some kind of citron) I picked up off a pile in a fishmarket, and that's currently only about 4-5 inches tall) but I have been told its not too difficult this Garden web thread may help http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/lo...

                                                                                4. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Starfruit/carambolas are called belimbing in Malaysia. I like them fine when I'm in Malaysia and they're cheap, plentiful, and refreshing, but on the whole, I prefer good oranges and tangerines.

                                                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                                                    They were much better in Taipei than any I've had here, I'll give you that. But I also like good citrus better.

                                                                                5. re: bigjeff

                                                                                  Hey Lau and bigjeff, when we were in Taipei one of my English students (from Hsinchu) told me always to soak lychees in salt water before eating "to take the heat out". This per her mom (Taiwanese). Ever heard of this? (The whole hot/cold food thing is fascinating, I only know it anecdotally but would really be interested in learning more about it.)

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    i've never heard of that although something like that wouldn't surprise me

                                                                                    u ever try it?

                                                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                                                      Didn't see the point, really. She said they were very allergenic and this would neutralize them. I never had a problem with lichees but the tudi mangguo (the pale green small flattish ones, wow so delicious) were another story (poison ivy is related and I had two big cases of that growing up - it's the oil in the mango peel that does it to me).
                                                                                      Ever see the tudi mangguo here? I haven't.

                                                                                    2. re: buttertart

                                                                                      i know it vaguely for specific foods; the main consequence is usual in your mucus membranes, e.g. canker sores, skin breaking out, etc. like eating roasted peanuts and fried food, etc. would seem to coincide with common sense stuff as well. in order to counteract a meal of say, vegetable tempura, you might want to eat cooling foods like wintermelon soup, mung bean soup.

                                                                                      a whole other dichotomy I'm interested in is acidic vs alkaline foods, which seems slightly more scientific, and interesting:
                                                                                      http://www.rense.com/1.mpicons/acidal...

                                                                                      1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                        Fascinating - cuts right to the core of the Yin and Yang in Chinese cuisine, no?

                                                                                        1. re: scoopG

                                                                                          the overlaps are there for sure, if not the basis. some info here:
                                                                                          http://www.angelfire.com/id/croon/chi...

                                                                                          with a chart that does some cross-referencing between yin/yang as well as cold/hot, with many overlaps to acidic/alkaline as well.

                                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                                        My Taiwanese sister-in-law gave me a plate of grapes years ago and they were salty. I gagged a little, thinking that they hadn't been washed (!) Nope, I later found out the Taiwanese soak a lot of different fruits in (lightly) salted water. Now I dig "salty grapes" all the time.

                                                                                        1. re: shaogo

                                                                                          Interesting, maybe taste preference on the lines of suan mei? I love that drink hot in the winter. A borrowing from the Japanese perhaps?

                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                            haha you like suan mei? i think we've got different tastes when it comes to fruits, i can't stand that stuff

                                                                                            1. re: Lau

                                                                                              Just the concentrate that you dilute with hot water. Nostalgia value.

                                                                                              1. re: Lau

                                                                                                dude! you gotta get the suan-mei-fen (red plum powder); if you've been to Hawaii they call it li-hing-mui but basically, its ground up dried red plum power and works a dream on any fruit; tastes amazing on pineapple, on asian pear, guava, etc.; its sour and salty and it really brings the sweetness out of fruit.

                                                                                                the salt wash is also a disinfectant thing, never quite heard it converting a fruit from "cool" to "hot" but ya, that is a pretty taiwanese-y thing that I remember.

                                                                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                  wait is that the stuff they put on all the fruits in taiwan when you buy them off the street?

                                                                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                                                                    ya the reddish/brownish powder. the one in hawaii is dyed much stronger so that li hing mui stuff actually stains things red.

                                                                                                    granted, it may be added to fruits that are not as sweet, to perk them up, but ya, that stuff is good; love it.

                                                                                                    1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                      yah i like that stuff although some of the vendors go overboard on it...very good on lian wu

                                                                                                    2. re: Lau

                                                                                                      yep. i think you can get it in flushing. so addicitive. not that the fruits in taiwan need more sweetness. but there is something so amazing about that mix of sweet and sour.

                                                                                        2. When I was in Chinatown last month, I saw dragon fruit. It looked very interesting. What does it taste like and how does one eat it?

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: FLnow

                                                                                            honestly - it tastes almost like nothing

                                                                                            1. re: FLnow

                                                                                              It's white with little black seeds inside, somewhat tangy, an interesting texture (like a less dense, wetter apple). Not terrifically flavorful but it looks very attractive with other fruits (as a contrast). The vivid pink and green peel can't be eaten, it must be peeled and the flesh cut into pieces to be eaten,

                                                                                            2. I was in Chinatown on Monday and got lichees at $4 per pound. They were really sweet too!. Almost all the vendors had cherries, lychees, rambutans and mangosteens.

                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: adrowsycat

                                                                                                Excellent - I can easily eat a half pound at a go.

                                                                                                1. re: adrowsycat

                                                                                                  Anyone know how much the cherries sell for? I'm hooked this season but even with Whole Foods' "sale" price of $4.99 / lb my habit is getting pricey ...

                                                                                                  1. re: uwsgrazer

                                                                                                    The cheapest I have seen them is at $2.99/lb at street vendors in Chinatown and elsewhere. I think cherries are excellent this year. Can't stop eating them!

                                                                                                    1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                      The famous lady at Mulberry and Canal had them for 2 lbs for $5.00 last Sat.

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Well, that's gotta be the cheapest in the city! That and her lychees would definitely be worth a trip. Thank you!

                                                                                                2. Just a note to those interested in fruit (as everyone here is, evidently): Read Adam Leith Gollner's "The Fruit Hunters" if you haven't already. Very vivid writing and lots of info, very enjoyable to read.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    this is a trailer for a film based on, or done in collaboration, with the book mentioned above.
                                                                                                    http://yungfilms.ca/fruithunters/FHDE...

                                                                                                    your computer must be able to use QuickTime to view.

                                                                                                    and, a story on both:
                                                                                                    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/20...

                                                                                                    amazing footage wow, I really want to watch the film now.

                                                                                                    1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                      Thanks for this, I'll definitely take a look. Great book.

                                                                                                  2. another asian fave of mine is jiu fong grapes. these are black globular grapes about the size of a quarter. i've never seen them in nyc. only in LA. they taste somewhat like concords, but sweeter and big enough sot that they are worth eating. anyone ever see them? These are nothing like the generic black or purple grapes you typically see in US syuper markets.

                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                      I know the ones you mean and think I have seen them - they're sold loose off the bunches?

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        hmm, see i don't think those are it. the ones sold loose have a similar taste, but a very thick skin that i find offputting. i suppose i shouldnt be greedy, but damn i wish i could find those here.

                                                                                                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                          I remember the big black grapes in Taipei being extremely good. If you ever run across them, please do let us know!

                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            will do. went today. no luck. but did pick up some great lychees for $4 / lb.

                                                                                                    2. Lychees on Henry and Forsyth, yesterday. 3.99 a lb!

                                                                                                      1. Yesterday was wonderful - tons of champagne mangoes for very little, Queen Anne/Rainier cherries, black cherries, big ripe papyas, all kinds of stuff. Our lady of Canal and Mulberry was selling smaller lichees 2 lb for $5! It was almost 4 when I got there so she probably had sold out of the others. Haven't tried them yet, but I'm sure they're good. Everybody had them for at most $4.00/lb, 3 lbs for $10.00.
                                                                                                        Does anybody know the difference between the mixed beige to red ones and the all-red (dusty dark pink, anyway) ones? Provenance?

                                                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                          there are a number of differences, but i tend to buy, not based on color but on country of origin...

                                                                                                          they tend to come from taiwan, china, florida and mexico. i've found the taiwanese to be the best, but most expensive. smaller pits, very sweet and aromatic. if i recall correctly, they also tend to be the bright red ones you talk about. the florida and mexico ones tend to be bigger and good as well. the chinese ones... cheapest, but in general, can be a very mixed bags. i've had ok ones and ones that were downright disgusting - in fact, my wife who loves lychees got a bad batch last year and stopped eating them midway threw the summer because they were so offputting.

                                                                                                          funny, i found the lady on the south east corner of canal and mulberry 3 years ago and have never changed vendors since. she consistently has the best product, imo.

                                                                                                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                            I love the Taiwanese ones, must get there earlier to get some next week. Have found late in the season that you can get some that are way past their prime (a bad lichee is not a pleasant experience).
                                                                                                            That lady is my staple vendor too, have never had anything the slightest bit off from her.

                                                                                                          2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                            This is just to say
                                                                                                            I have eaten the litchis
                                                                                                            that I bought
                                                                                                            from the lady on Mulberry

                                                                                                            and which
                                                                                                            my husband probably
                                                                                                            wanted
                                                                                                            some of

                                                                                                            I hope he forgives me
                                                                                                            they were delicious
                                                                                                            so sweet
                                                                                                            and so cold

                                                                                                            With apologies to the bard of Rutherford, NJ.

                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                              Remind me to hide the plums if you come over!

                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  I was inspired by your re-purposed poem to buy a pound of litchis from a lady on Grand near Chrystie (and some avocados and limes, but that's neither here nor there). They were, I think, excellent, although I've never bought fresh ones before, so I'm no expert. They reminded me of quenepas, aka genips, and as it turns out, the two fruits are related.

                                                                                                                  http://ceventura.ucdavis.edu/Agricult...

                                                                                                                  1. re: small h

                                                                                                                    Very interesting. It also says that the fruits turn brown on storage (after about 10 days) thereby answering another of my questions. Didn't know that they were related to ackee, either. There's a thread on quenepas in Guatemala on the General board, by the way - I must try them next time I see them. (Liked the part about the tree being "capricious" in bearling fruit too.) The lady at the corner of canal and Mulberry had some beautiful ones yesterday, red and smelling slightly of roses. She said they were from Miami.

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      From Miami? You won't find any in the supermarkets in Miami, and there are almost no farmer's markets in Miami. What a shame.

                                                                                                                      1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                        There seems to be a real problem with distribution in FL - they were selling FL strawberries for almost nothing here a few weeks ago and a person posted that they were hard to come by/expensive down there. Crazy.

                                                                                                          3. this years mangosteens are excellent.
                                                                                                            the ones in the white mesh seem better than the ones in the orange

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                              I was wondering about that, didn't want to lash out on a bag if they were subpar. They can be divine, sort of the uni of fruit.

                                                                                                            2. The stand at the corner of Mulberry and Canal had a lot of jackfruit on Saturday - it's not one of my favorites so I didn't try it, but it looked decent. A vendor along Canal had Queen Anne cherries, 2 lb for $4. Lichees are around $3/lb now.

                                                                                                              1. Didn't get to Manhattan Chinatown the weekend of the 19th, and was in Flushing only last weekend. Now Flushing is a whole other order of beast in re fruit: the Great Wall supermarket had just about everything available, donut peaches, Southern regular peaches, blueberries, papayas, you name it - and litchis on their twigs, which is so appealing to look at (I expect it means they're fresher too). Used to get them like that in Taipei, with glossy leaves attached (they look like a darker, narrower, and thicker avocado leaf). Bought the $3.98/lb ones; there were $7.98/lb ones which probably had the smaller pits. Haven't tried them yet but they had a nice rose-y scent. Also got a small Sprite melon that looks a lot like a Hamiguo, hope it tastes like one. Will report.

                                                                                                                21 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                  yep, the 7.98 lb ones are more often than not the so called "chicken tounge" lichi's which are cosidered a premium variety. Ironically I usually do better with the cheaper ones; the chicken tounges look nice and some of them are enormous (I've gotten ones the size of small apricots) but at least this year I've been finding quite a few are either sour or bitter. will be in M CHT next wed, I may pick up a bunch of the twiggies which I thing are still another different variety (they're yellower and the bumps are much flatter) hopefully they be the best of all!

                                                                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                    Not sure about that (another variety) - that was the only way they were sold in Taipei when we were there, don't remember ever seeing any "loosies" sold. Good to know about the "chicken tongue" ones - have had some from the lady at Mulberry and Canal and they were good. (Incidenatlly the checkout lady palpated the ones I bought and rang them up correctly - they looked very like the $7.98 ones and I wondered how they would be differentiated - I expect they felt firmer because of the bigger pits.) M CHT for us too this coming weekend!

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      I was referring to the lychees in reference to the other ones sold at the stands in the CT's over here, I have no doubt that in Taipei (where at least some of the lichis are no doubt more or less local product) the rules on presetation are somewaht different. I was only making referece to the fact that the lichis sold over here on the stick are (or at least look) somewhat different from the "loosies".

                                                                                                                      1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                        True enough, point taken. I get the impression that the "loosies" have been around longer.

                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                          My impression has always been a locational one; I think the "loosies" come from Hawaii, Mexico and points south, while the "twiggies" may come from Florida. Different growing area probably favor slighty different strains. I'm sure that if you went into the depths of the Chinese foothills, there are probably strains of lychee that look so bizarre we would not reconize them as such (Heck, go far enough in and there are probably still wild lychee trees around, though thier fruit probably doesn't taste very good). That's one of the reasons I try and stop at EVERY fruit stand I see, not only may you find a great bargain, you may find someone who got a tiny shipment of some totally bizarre and obscure type or variety of fruit in, either on its own or mixed into the "normal" stuff. Fortune may favor the brave, but it really stacks the deck in favor of the prepared and observant.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                            I thought the loosies were just the ones that are not as fresh so they fell off and are sold loose (and cheaper), much like grapes although, nobody buys loose grapes. remaining on the stem should allow them to stay fresh longer.

                                                                                                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                                              some places they may be but the loose lychees in CTN look very, very different from the stemmed ones. it's not just the color (the looseies are usally a bit greener and redder, but that could be ripness. but the bumps are a LOT less prominent. Besides as far as I know, lychees do not naturarally fall off the twigh, from my understanding, if the fruit is left on the tree long enough the skin itself splits open to give acess to the fruit (the edible part is botanically an aril so this would make sense actually if you look at its realtive the rambutan there is a strong seam running right along the middle)
                                                                                                                              Actually having done a little wikiwork, I'm wondering if the twiggies could be the malaysian subspecesi javanensis since this is described as having much smoother fruit. I I ever happen to bump into a twigh group that still has a few flowers in it I'll check (javanensis flowers have seven or eight stames, as opposed to the chinensis's six) we do get some fruit from Malaysia and Indonesia (and Canada gets more) so it's just possible.

                                                                                                                            2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                              That's quite true, you never know what you'll stumble across. The place at Mulberry and Bayard often has unusual things - that was where I found the lian wu a couple of years ago, hadn't seen them anywhere before.

                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                So far my best find was the fresh guanabana (soursop) that one person on bowery had a year or two ago. I have heard tell of salak (snakefruit) and langsat (like a magonsteen, but yellow and fuzzy) from time to time.
                                                                                                                                To me the other big suprise (I've told this story a few times, so skip over if you've read it) is the fact that whne I stuck the leftover pits from my Jackfruit in a pot they grew, both times. (in fact I'm looking at two jackfruit seedlings as I write this) evidently, none of the jackfruit in CTown is going through irradiation (which I thought was required for it to be imported, guess it's all being smuggled in from Canada. I also may (emphasis on may) have some mangosteen trees starting, which would indicate that some of those aren't coming in frozen anymore. But to return to my point, yes almost anything can show up or why I make sure to always carry some extra cash and an expandable tote bag.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                  Okay I'm back and here is the report
                                                                                                                                  re: the loosies versus the twiggies (of lychees) having looked at them, and having looke a a lot of lichi pics yesterday the answer is obvios. The twiggies apper to be the variety "mauritius" which is the type of choice in much of the world (South Africa grows quiate a lot of it, as I recall) the loosies appear to be mosty "Brewster" the current type of choice in much of the US and south america. and I reiterate that a some of the "loosies" I'm seeing this year are almost freakishly large (I saw a few today that were well in apricot territory and edgeing up to plum).

                                                                                                                                  In odd fruit there is a odd thing showing up at a few stands that I have frankly never seen before, on sight I took it to be some kind of longan attached to twigs. However when I opened one up it is most definetely NOT a logan, In fact based on the smell taste and seeds I almost looks like some sort of citrus (it smells and tastes a little like an caldomin orange and the green seeds look an awful lot like overgrown orange pips with the skins removed). Quite expensive though (about $12-13 per pound) anyone have any clues as to what that is?
                                                                                                                                  Beyond that more or less the same fruits as always, still jack fruit in a few places (it's gone from the canal street area but the big fruit seller on Chrystie still has quite a lot.)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                    this may be weird, but i think this is my favorite CH thread ever. I think it's because for the most part, we (Americans) have mainstream access to some of the best cuisines in the world and i'm almost spoiled by that. yet, one of the things we really lack is a great variety of fruits (one can only eat apples, bananas, strawberries and grapes for so long), so the fruits you can find in chinatown truly fascinate me. And they are so delicious compared to what you would find at a mainstream supermarket. that being said, i continue to hanker for lian wu.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                      To jumpingmonk: The variety issue is very interesting. The twiggies I got in Flushing (mostly red, quite markedly "pimpled", with a softer, more elastic skin) have a denser and more compact fruit flesh than the loosies I got the last time, almost more to the longyan side than the litchi, but not as gelatinous as a longyan, with a slightly brighter, tarter flavor. Delicious! I'm going to buy these now whenever I see them. I take it the Brewster ones were developed in FL (and thank goodness for that, litchis haven't been available in the NY area for all that long, and the more the merrier). I like them very much too but these are special. I'll be on the lookout for the other - doesn't sound like a gineps because of the smaller seed...hmm, tropical fruit experts?
                                                                                                                                      To FattyDumplin: I'm very happy you said that, it is a fascinating topic and the availability of these fruits in this area is a wonderful thing. I've always loved fruit (grew up with the standard NA ones, very good exemplars of same, my part of Ontario grows divine fruits) and first read about the exotic ones in the Time-Life Foods of the World series of books - the South American volume is particularly good for those details. Was exposed to some exotica in the Bay Area and was beyond thrilled to fall into the array of delights in Taiwan and HK, up to and including mangosteen (the size of tennis balls) and our dear lian wu, for which I am very much on the hunt.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        I saw the "mystery fruit" at 3-4 places; one of the stands on "fruit row" (the line of 5-6 sellers that runs along both sides of the half of mulberry (or maybe Baxter, keep forgetting to look at the signs) on the downtown side of Canal); a stand on either Mott or Elizabeth between Hester and Grand, and two places on Grand between Bowery and Chrystie.

                                                                                                                                        To tell the two apart it helps to look at the shape (and the color), "Mauritius" are almost oval to spherical while the "brewster has that somewhat tapered shape that gives the fruit "shoulders".

                                                                                                                                        No they are defintely not genips, for one thing they're brown, not green (BTW I saw some genips too yesterday, a fruitstand on 17th, next to the Union Sqaure Greenmaket had some)

                                                                                                                                        I'm actually sort of semi-glad they msystery fruit AREN'T logans, I was willing to give it another try (because it was chinatown and maybe they're better fresh) but the fact is that, while I love lychees and Rambutans, I HATE logans, to me they have a sort of "moldy" taste to them (like very old mushrooms or Pur-eh tea) that I just personally find unpleasant. Actually speaking of logans (0n the groudn that your comments indicate you, unlike me are fond of them) If you happen to regulalry be in the Union square area you may want to visit the health food store on the corner of 3rd ave and 17th or 18th street. On rare occasions they have gotten in a peculiar vareity of logan, quite unlike the "standard one". The fruit is much smaller (about cranberry to gooseberry size) much rounder and much sweeter even I almost liked them (almost).
                                                                                                                                        Oh and I should have mentioned that as I left one of the fruit stands I saw a pit on the ground that I recognized as being from a mei type plum (I'm actually a plant taxonomist by profession, so just take it on faith that I can identify some types of fruit just by looking at thier pits) so it is possible that someone has those as well (though from a logical point of view it is somewaht more likely that someone was walking along eating dried, pickled, candied or otherwise preserved plums of the apporprite type (Japanese umi plums are of the same species) and simply spat a pit out on the sidewalk)

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                          You're right about the litchis I bought, more oval w/o shoulders. Fascinating!
                                                                                                                                          I'm with you on longyan, I don't get their appeal, they seem like failed litchis to me.
                                                                                                                                          And the mei pit - I expect from a preserved fruit. The plum itself is very small and brownish when ripe, correct?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                            Actually it varies some are yellow, some green, some red some pink, same as with the kind of plums we're used to here in the west. As for taste, that's also variable. A lot of them are small and rather sour (as they are mostly used for picking or preserving in syrup or for cooking they was never really any inducment to make them otherwise) however I have heard that there are strains in both China and Japan which due to careful selection, are sweet enough and large enough to be eaten as is in the manner of an eating plum. In thier fresh form they basically look like a small plum except that they are fuzzy, like an apricot (Prunus mume is actually a bit more closely related to the apricot than the plum and the bungo type in japan is though to be a hybrid between the two). They are occasionaly sold fresh over here (I bought a pound or so a few weeks ago at a Japanese supermarket I sometimes go to; thats how I found out how nasty they taste raw).
                                                                                                                                            Actually that was one of the first odd things I noticed whne I stated exploring the side aisle of the chinese supermarkets; being western I'm used to the idea of fruit always being pitted before it's dried, the fact that they usally leave the pits in for the Asian markets was suprising, though given my plant background, highly useful.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                            Interesting take on longans, jumpingmonk and buttertart.
                                                                                                                                            I'm the opposite. I wouldn't say that I hate lychees, I'm just not as enamored of them as most folks are.
                                                                                                                                            I'm not overly fond of rambutans either, and I detest mangosteens, but I love longans.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                              Thereby leaving more litchis for us! Nothing wrong with that! What is that you prefer about longyan to litchi?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                The yellow gold ovoid shape melons are back at ninety cents to a dollar per pound. These are sweet and taste a bit like casaba.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                          I believe the secret identity of the "odd" fruit you're talking about above, jumpingmonk, varies somewhere along the "wong pei"/"wampi" continuum. (Haven't found an English equivalent.) Check out the Purdue Agriculture website page describing it at www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/wa...
                                                                                                                                          Tasty!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ethnojunkie

                                                                                                                                            wampee IS the english name..... and that's it exactly. Odd how much it looks like a langsat when your going by the pictures on the web. Thanks for the update.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                              Interesting about eating it to counteract the effects of too many litchi. Too many is not enought!

                                                                                                                        2. Yesterday: a licheepalooza, every imaginable type, ones on branches with FRESH LEAVES selling for $7 a lb, bunches on branches 3 lb for 10 (stalls along Canal between Elizabeth and Mulberry - they were very red and looked good), 2 lb for $5 loosies from our lady of Mulberry St. (these I bought but haven't tried yet - she had 2 kinds, one with a more bepimpled skin than the other - these were the ones I bought because she said they were the ones with smaller seeds). Also longyan (the first I've seen them but I missed a weekend or 2 in CTown recently, papayas, mangosteen, Rainier/Queen Anne and black cherries (around $3.50/lb, didn't see any real deals on them this year). The guy at the corner of Mulberry and Baxter had donut peaches (so did a number of others) and black mission figs in plastic 1/2 pt or so packages for $2.00. Haven't seen (noticed anyway) any pluots this year, usually there are tons - what gives? Is it still too early, not that it seems so with the heat?

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                            Count me as another person who's patiently waiting for pluots! Those things are delicious.

                                                                                                                            I saw them at my local supermarket, but it wasn't cheap. Can't recall the exact price at the moment, but wasn't cheap.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              "Rainier/Queen Anne and black cherries (around $3.50/lb, didn't see any real deals on them this year)."

                                                                                                                              They've gone up in the past 2 weeks. 2-3 weeks ago, 2$/lb, last wee, average was 3/3.50 (did find one guy that was selling 3lbs for 5). It's moving back up to 3.50-4.

                                                                                                                              1. re: WestIndianArchie

                                                                                                                                Those were the two weeks I wussed out of a CTown visit because of the heat, it would seem!

                                                                                                                            2. Was remiss in not getting to Chinatown this weekend, will be there this weekend wthout fail...and report!

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                I just got back from my (usally) weekly trip, though alas the route I took today did not take me by any stands, so I do not have any interesting fruit to report from today's trip. In terms of vegetables however, I did see something of note, though I did not buy any. At the Chinese/Indonesian vegetable store on Bayard btwn Mott and Mulberry (the one next to the bookstore, sort of across the street from Bo Ky) they had a pile of hwat have to be the biggest Khiva type cucumbers I have ever seen! (for those of you who aren't deep into the whole heirloom vegetable scene, Khiva type cucumbers are a group of cuke varities found in India and SE asia, mostly. They are marked by very white flesh, short fat shapes and skins that usually vary from yellowish to chocolate brown, often with netting (like on a cantalope) The taste is somewhat sweeter than that of a conventional cuke. Some varieites in this group are the Phoona Keera, the Uzbeckistani, and the Kaiser Alexander)
                                                                                                                                Oh and in case you missed the other thread, the "mystery fruit" has been identified, it was a smallish form of langsat (Lansium domesticum)

                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                  I was also in Chinatown tonight, and there were a couple of vendors on Bowery south of Canal who were selling pretty good-looking rambutan at 3 lb. for $10 and 1 1/2 lb. for $5. I bought 1 1/2 lb. from the vendor on the corner of Bowery and Canal. He said they were from Mexico. They are very good quality (the man truthfully guaranteed that they would all be sweet), and my father and I have been enjoying them.

                                                                                                                              2. Yesterday still lots of litchis, from 2 lbs for $5.00 to $8.80/lb (could not tell what the difference was between them and the $5.50/lb ones I bought was - the lady of M St was too busy to talk), longyan, the odd fruit (wampee) discussed by jumpingmonk here (looks like smaller, shinier-shelled longan on the outside), lots of papayas, mangoes, the usual suspects. Only saw 1 stall (the one on Bayard at the corner of Mulberry) with pluots and they didn't look all that prepossessing. What is up with pluots this year? No lian wu either, it seems to me it was around this time of year I saw them (at the place with the pluots).

                                                                                                                                33 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                  Back from my weekly trip.
                                                                                                                                  The only really new fruit I saw today and actually bought two of on monday (a a chinese grocery a bit nearer to me) was some sort of small melon. Once opened it turns out to be some sort of honeydew, which as it happens neither me or anyone else in my family happens to like (when it gets down to it, the only melon I actually like is watermelon (I like winter melon as well, but that is a vegetable so it doesn't really count in this context). That's really it for this week, I didn't see any fruit on the few stalls I passed that really caught my eye and I lost a lot of time I could have used seaching for more trying to convey to a fish seller that one of the "frogs" in his frog tank was in fact a cane toad, and that anyone who bought and tried to eat said toad would likey get quite sick.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                    Back from another week
                                                                                                                                    Todays new fruit was as far as I can tell, muscadine grapes (big loose greeny brown grapes) all up and down the street there were piles of these grapes. One seller also had another sort of grape purple and even larger than the green muscadines (some of them were easily the size of small plums) I'm not sure, but I think these may have been the so called "dragon's eye" (Longyan) grapes.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                      Must get there this weekend - was away last. Someone here was looking for the extra-big black grapes, hope they noticed (and that they're the ones sought).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                        In case that person is around and reading this, the stand I saw them at was on Grand street, somewhere between Chrystie and Allen. I think it was the one next door to the fishmarket, on the uptown side.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                          i was the one. i missed them! were these on the vine still or loose, like the muscadines? anyone try them?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                            They were still in evidence on Saturday, loose, at the stand at Mulberry and Bayard among other places. I had just bought a lot of local fruit at the greenmarket so didn't buy any. Litchi at 2 lbs/$5.00 took precedence!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                              i don't think these are the grapes i'm thinking of. i've had the muscadines, which have a similar flavor to the ones i want, but the thick skin is kind of a turn-off.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                They seemed to be the same big black grapes I've seen other years. Not the same as the ones we wish we could have!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah the thick skin which is also fairly sour is a bit of a turn off to me; after the first two or three grapes, I gave in and started peeling them. In fact I was while I was doing this I finally began to understand 1. why all those rich ancient guys in the old movies wanted thier slaves to peel thier grapes for them and 2. Why this this was usally used a sign of waht spoiled and self centered bastards they were.
                                                                                                                                                  Oh while I'm at it, I retract my theory that the black ones were dragon eye grapes, after tasting a few I relized their just black muscadines. Actually at this point I'm rather dubios that Dragon's Eye Grapes even Make it to this country, or even far out of thier own province (around Heibei). I really have always wanted to try them since I heard of them, the fact that China has three or four indigenous grapes that have been used to make indigenous grape wine for millenia is fascinating to me regardless of how said wine actually tastes (Dragon's eye is the grape used to make Great Wall wine (as well as some of Dynasty) I'd also love to try some of the other indgeous Chinese grapes (Heck who am I kidding I'd like to grow some of the other indigenous Chinese grapes) if for the names if nothing else (I mean can't you get a giggle out of grapes called things like Chicken Heart and Cow's nipple?)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                    Gotta love it! The white Great Wall is not too dreadful.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                    Was in Chinatown fruit-shopping yesterday and also found this year's pluots to be disappointing! I usually LOVE them but these were not good. I'm glad I only bought a small quantity. At least all the beautiful peaches (from local markets) make up for it!

                                                                                                                                    Since people were discussing grapes and I've been wondering for a while - anybody seen Kyoho grapes at fruit vendors? I used to eat them all the time in Korea and Japan, but I guess they're not popular here. I saw them at H-Market a while ago but didn't get them 'cause they looked kind of sad. So I was wondering if any fruit vendors in Chinatown had them. To describe them, they're very dark (almost black) with thick-ish skin and light green flesh, and their seeds are on the big side. Very sweet.

                                                                                                                                    Here's a link with a couple photos:
                                                                                                                                    http://milchundhonig.blogspot.com/200...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                      I haven't seen them anywhere here, a shame because they are lovely.
                                                                                                                                      Re pluots: I inquired with some of the west coast CHers and it seems the havest was poor this year (thanks, oakjoan).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                        These are the "mythical" Taiwanese grapes i keep talking about, or at least some very similar variant. In chinese, I think they are called Jiu Fong (sorry for bad spelling) grapes.

                                                                                                                                        but they have a thick dark (almost black) skin, light green jelly like flesh and big seeds. the seeds are an annoyance as is the skin,w hich you have to peel. but when you bite into one, you are hit with an intense sweetness and aroma that you just don't get with american grapes...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                          Yes! Your descriptions are spot-on. So many people here think they're just like Concord - which, as you know, are NOT! I'm so happy that I've finally met people who know what I'm talking about.

                                                                                                                                          I just pop the whole grape in my mouth and spit out the peel and the seeds. Ladylike, I know. I'll even admit to sucking the juice out of the peel.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                            too funny. i tried buying the concords once as a substitute, but not even close. more sour and much higher skin / seed to yummy flesh ratio.

                                                                                                                                            they have them in LA now, so i load up whenever i go now.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                              was in LA and gorged on these Kyoho or Jiu Fong grapes. so good. the good news is that the ranch 99's out there now carry them and I even saw some at the santa monica farmer's market... so it looks like the distribution is getting wider and maybe we'll get them in NYC soon enough.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                GOOD NEWS! Looks like my last post was prescient. I was at Great Wall Supermarket in Flushing just now. And they have 2 types of Kyoho grapes. One, in a smaller 2lb box, for $5, with a medium purple skin. The other, in a larger 4lb box, for $14, with a deep purple, almost black skin. The latter are more like what I am used to, but i got the more reasonably sized box of the former. They are sitting in the fridge now as I type, waiting to reach chilled levels of deliciousness.

                                                                                                                                                Sorry for the outer boroughs update - not sure whether they are in NYC chinatown yet, but they cannot be far behind!!!!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                  Must go to Flushing! thanks for this. I hope uwsister is watching this space!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                    Don't have to I found them today in Manhattan. New York No.1 Supermarket (that huge one on East Broadway next to the bus stop; the one that has the sort of open cortyard out side the actual store (under the train trestle) where they put out most of the fruit) had them. Yes I did buy a box, but you'll have to wait till later for a taste review; I'm a bit too full at the moment to try one.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      Here I am! I did come back from two weeks of stuffing myself full of those lovely grapes and watermelons (why are watermelons so tasteless in this country?) in Seoul and Tokyo, but it's great to know that I can find them here! Let me know how those grapes were. IMO the best ones have that "deep purple, almost black" skin but I understand you may not have wanted to commit to a 4 lb. box. (WHY NOT??? I kid, I kid.)

                                                                                                                                                      jumpingmonk - let me know how your grapes were too, if I could buy them in Manhattan I would be so very happy. Except that summer's almost over!

                                                                                                                                                      If it's any consolation, BTW - peaches in Asia were simply dreadful. Our peaches this summer were SO much better.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                                        I haven't had a really good peach in Asia. And you are right about watermelons, they are so much better there (loved those small brilliant yellow-fleshed ones).

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                                          They were decent. Fact is, grapes aren't my all time favorite fruit to begin with, so I'm probably not the best person to rate their quality to begin with. As for the realitve quality of the 4lb box versus the smaller one, they only had one size box at the store I found (the 2 lb one) so that's what I bought.

                                                                                                                                                          In other fruit news about the only fruit I saw today that I didn't see last week were jujubes aka chinese red dates (bear in mind though, that I was on E.broadway today, good for basics, but not usally where the really edgy new fruit shows up ususally.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              fruit, fruit stand, or hunting area?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  well the first 2 are a little hard to answer, I like my fruit diverse and tend to be happiest when I have a quite varied selection; eat the same fruit for a while, and I tend to get tired of them, or even get to the state where my body begins to have trouble digesting it. I'm a neophile so anythiung I haven't tried yet gets at least one try. I have a partiucalr fondness for REAL greengages (the small old style european kind, not the rock hard heart shaped green japanese plums that a lot of the supermarkets sell as greengages. I like fresh figs (though only the green kind, not the black ones)I like Uglis (those citrus that look like giant oragest that have been partially deflated) and my kitchen is never without fresh key limes, if I have anything to say about it though that's fruit for cooking not eating (the juice of a freshly squeezed key lime is an integral part of the iced tea I make for myself each moring (I'm not a coffee drinker). If fond of Yuzu and Kabosu's when I can get them (I have found that Yuzu juice is incredible mixed with a little sugar and a high mountain "jade type" oolong tea. I like lychees and rambutans, though not longans (as I think I mentioned)

                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think I HAVE a favorite stand, I'm a strict opportunist, buying what looks good from who has it, I don't really play favorites (at least not on fruit sellers).

                                                                                                                                                                  As fro good regions to go hunting, they're pretty much the ones youd expect. The first is "L" formed the fruit line along Mulberry street, plus the area of Canal running down from there to about Mott/Elizabeth. The second is another sort of "L" running along Chrystie between Hester and Grand and then East along Grand as far as Allen. There are a couple of other stand's that are worth an occasional look scattered along the Uptown side of Elizabeth, between about Canal and Grand. Which one (or ones) I hit depends on which chunk of CTWN I'm going through that week. Of the three the Mulberry is the densest so I tend to use that one most often (plus that route puts me in easy walking distance of three of my favortie halls (If I feel like dim sum) and several of my favortie resto's. As for Flushing (where frut stands are somewhat more sparse and fruit purchases are more often done in a supermarket) I tend to use the place on 41st ave at the corner with Roosevelt (I think, the street you're on when you get off the subway) though admittely that has less to with the quality of the fruit than the fact that they sometimes carry a not commonly stocked brand of dried beans that is very useful for some of my botaincal projects.)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                                            uwsister,

                                                                                                                                                            you were in seoul too? I have a report that I just haven't gotten to yet, but I did get my friend to write down all of the restaurants and places we ate it, in both english and hangul, so I will be posting that on the Asia board at some point. wasn't seoul amazing? some of the best food I've ever had and I don't think I will eat in a korean restaurant in NY anytime soon out of respect for my experience over there (and lack of desire, frankly). it was just too good over there.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                                                                              I've always wondered about that, Korean food has never seemed very appealing here. It was great in Taipei. You're experiencing the "I can't eat what's served as X cuisine in the US after being to X country" blues...I couldn't eat Chinese food - and I was living in the Bay Area at the time - out for a couple of years after living in Taipei.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                                                                                Hey there, sorry didn't see your post for a couple days. Yes, was just in Seoul for two weeks. I actually spent a large chunk of my childhood there and my parents live there now so it wasn't exactly a new experience for me. But I can tell you that my American/Caucasian husband is constantly disappointed with Korean food in NYC after spending three months in Seoul a few years back. L.A. is better but still nothing like Seoul - you'll just have to go back! ;)
                                                                                                                                                                Seoul is probably my second favorite city in the world - so I'm very happy to hear you enjoyed it very much!

                                                                                                                                                                buttertart - yes, exactly! It's an okay fascimile when you get a craving, but that's about it.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                                                  Uwsister, totally off topic, but I don't know how else to contact you --
                                                                                                                                                                  Do you have any recommendations for places to eat in seoul? If so, would you post them on the China & Southeast Asia board? Pretty please?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                    Sure, I'll be over in a bit!

                                                                                                                                                                    P.S. Which thread is it? Could you link me to the thread? You can always e-mail me at kateminnyc at gmail dot com so this thread won't be more off-topic.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: FattyDumplin

                                                                                                                                                            so my grapes were decent. kind of hit or miss. some, were clearly more rpie, and had that fragrance and burst of sweetness i love. others, were more tart and tasted more like standard grapes. i plan to get a big box of the deep purple ones next time and see if those are better. good to hear that Manhattan Ctown has them as well!

                                                                                                                                              2. Cherimoya/shi jia alert - the lady at Mulberry and Canal had big beautiful ones this Saturday for $9.00/lb. Still no lian wu in evidence any time I've been there... ;-(

                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the heads up I swung by today a picked a few up. Though to be tecnicaly unless the fruit she had on monday was different or I was at a different vendor (the location was about right) what she had for sale were not Cherimoyas (Annoa cherimola) but sugar apples/sweetsops (Annoa squamosa) I'm actually glad of this, as sugar apples are a lot harder to find that the regular cheriymoya.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                    Hmm, I didn't know there was a distinction - are cherimoyas the ones with less distinct "scales" - by which I mean the pinecone-like protrusions? Are they good? I've only eaten them in Taiwan - and they were smaller than the ones I saw this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      Other way round, the cheriymoyas are the ones with the "scales" the pinecone like ones are the sweetsops. This will be the first time I will have had a sweetsop (and the ones I was able to get arent soft yet, so I have to wait a while while they finish ripening so I can't weigh in on how they taste versus a cherimoya yet.
                                                                                                                                                      To muddle the waters even further they is the atemoya whic his a cross between the two, and which can have scales OR bumps. also there is the Bullocks heart which lookes like an oversized sweetsop (except that it can sometimes be bright pink) and of course there is the soursop or guanabana which I found in Chinatown once several years ago (that one looks like an oversized elongated cherimoya with spines. and is also the only one that your really can't eat "as is"; it's tart like a lemon. With a little sugar however it makes a great drink.) And these are only the most common ones, there are 110 reconized species in the genus Annona and at least half of them produce edible fruit.
                                                                                                                                                      Actually the ones I got are pretty small too (about apple size), maybe you did see cherymoyas on Mon and the ladt sold out an got the sweetsops later.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                        No, they were the pinecone-y ones so sweetsops. And they were as big or bigger than a large navel orange. The ones in TPE were more the size of a tangerine.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                          Okay so what I found was a second run (it's sort of makes sense if the ones you got were ripe when you found them and mine weren't) incidentally "large navel orange" while indeed on the big side for a sweetsop (that's almost standard bullocks heart size) would actually be a bit small for a cherimoya; those are often about grapefruit size. Sorsops can be even even bigger, I've seen pictures of ones the size of a good cantelope.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                            I've seen the big scaly-looking cherinoyas from time to time, these were smaller. I didn't buy any so not sure of the ripeness.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                              Okay one of them finally was ripe enough for me to eat today. On the whole I am ambivalent. There is a touch of the flavor I associate with cherymoyas, but it isnt nearly as strong as I am used to. There's also not all that much actual edible fruit doue to 1. the smaller size 2. the fact that these have a much thicker outside skin (which isn't edible) and 3. the seeds are no smaller, nor less numberous than in a cheriymoya. I certinly wount refuse another one if someone offered it to me, but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to buy more.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                They are more interesting than enticing it seems to me. A bit like a seedy, slightly acid, mild banana.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  One of my TA's at colledge absoltuey loved them, but of course he was frowm the deep south and lived a stones throw from a huge paw-paw patch (Asimina Tribola and related species) the only memembers of the custard apple native to the continental US)
                                                                                                                                                                  Interesitngly also back at colledge there was a bit of ground that was more or less undisturbed vegitiatvely wise. Amongst the thigs you coud find growing there was a plant called mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) and some of them actually were in fruit one of the times I visited. I did not dare to eat any of it (mayapples are edible in very small quantities but are poisonous in large quantities and the rest of the plant is poisonous in ANY quantity) but I can confirm somtheing interesting, the fruit smells just like a cherymoya (only even stronger) its and odd feeling to smell tropical fruit while standing in a wooded glade in the middle of Upstate NY

                                                                                                                                                2. Has anyone been able to get their hands on the wax apples?

                                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: teresa

                                                                                                                                                    Not a sighting this year, anyone else?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      I'm going to Chinatown today so I'll check, but I highly doubt I'll see any. It's been a few years since I've seen them in Chinatown or Flushing!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: teresa

                                                                                                                                                        New weeks update

                                                                                                                                                        There are now TONS of sugar apples around, almost all the sellers had some. Still lots of lychees, logans and giant purple grapes.

                                                                                                                                                        New odd fruit of the week (courtesy of the big fruit stand on Chrystie between Grand and Hester are Orahite apples (spondias dulcis) http://www.tradewindsfruit.com/ambare... none of the ones I got are ripe yet so you'll have to wait for a taste report.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                          That looks very interesting, are they usually good?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                            Dunno, this will be the first time Ive ever encountered them. I personally may not like them (I don't really like mangoes to start with, so if they really do taste like that, that's pretty much going to kill it for me) but someone who does might.
                                                                                                                                                            BTW one quik caveat, until the fruit actually is ripe, if the skin breaks you may want to wash your hands after touching it. Spondias is in apparantly in the Anacardiacae family, which includes mangoes, cashews..........and poison ivy. I have no idea if the juice is irratating but most of the plants in the family are, there are plenty of people who are sensitive enough that mango skins will give them contact dermatitis (the tecnical term for the itchy rash poison ivy gives you) and as for cashews, the oil in the shell is so caustic it can leave scars (if you ever wondered why you can't buy cashews with the shells on, that's why) Just be careful.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                              I'm one of the people with that sensitivity (due to several bad bouts of poison ivy when I was a kid) and so I won't touch these. Good to know. I can only eat mango if someone cuts it up for me and no oil touches my skin. I shudder when I see the score flesh and turn inside out on peel eating method because that's how I found out...a couple of beautiful Taiwan tudi mangguo and me at the doctor's with my face blown up like a balloon.
                                                                                                                                                              Was in Chinatown last Sat and as you say lots of sugar apples, longyan, some rambutan, some lichees I wouldn't buy now on a bet, nice hard guavas, the usual suspects. Cheap strawberries again ($1.25/lb box), from California, looked presentable but I didn't buy any.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                Was around Chrystie street again today, but don't think I saw anything new or interesting. Still waiting for the spondias fruit to turn yellow all the way (according to the net, that's how you tell they're ripe)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                  How'd the rambutan look, and how much for a pound?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                                                                    Good, bright red, the one cut open was nice and white - $5 ($7?) or so a lb at the lady at the corner of Mulberry and Canal's stand.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Does anyone know where I can get good lotus roots? I've been having rotten luck with them lately (moldy inside). Want to make a favorite Suzhou-style appetizer, blanched thin slices marinated in tangerine juice...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                                                                                                                                          There still were some sugar apples today in CTWN (at the stand on the corner of Grand) but to be honest, they kinda looked past thier prime (they had all gone completely black, and many were cracking).
                                                                                                                                                          Didn't seem much new fruit today, there are still longans, still rambutans, still Jackfruit. only fruit I actually bough were a few large asian pears/apple pears. maybe sometihng new will show up next week.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                            It's rather getting into the fallow-ish season, unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                              I got a pound of rambutan for $7 a couple of weeks ago at a stand on Mulberry near Canal, and they were just decent, not even very good (my father said they tasted a bit old). I definitely overpaid. I think it's best to buy them in the season when they're $10 for 3 pounds and $5 for 1 1/2 pounds and more vendors are selling them.

                                                                                                                                                            2. Yesterday, lots of guavas, pomelo, the first pomegranates (I got burned on them last year, the early ones were tasteless). Rambutan and longyan. Nice looking small watermelons. Fresh chestnuts for $3.00/lb. Lots of grapes, including 1 small stall selling nothing but small green grapes labeled very sweet (in Chinese). Nothing was irresistible.

                                                                                                                                                              22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                I was in Chinatown yesterday and wasn't that impressed with the appearance of the $7/lb. rambutan; they were beyond the really red stage and seemed too old to be really good, so I passed them up.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Pan

                                                                                                                                                                  I know, it's too late for them.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                    Back from the weeks visit. Didn't really see andy new fruit this week at all, and a lot of waht is there is looking sorrier and sorrier (the store at the corner of East Broadway and Catherine now has two piles a dragonfruit a $5 per pound of ones that look healthy and a $4 per pound for ones that look wrinkly and a bit smaller (whether these ones are getting old or are just a lesser quality batch, I cannot say as I do not like dragonfruit to being with)
                                                                                                                                                                    In NON-fruit realted info (for anyone who has inclination to buy live seafood, and the skill to get it home and cooked before it spoils) the little fishmarket on the corner of E Broadway and Centre (sorta around the corner from the two big malls) had a big pile of very nice looking live mantis shrimp (expensive, though). I was almost tempted to buy a few (I have never had matis shrimp, and always wanted to taste them) but my mother long ago told me If I ever came home with live seafood and asked her to cook it, she would not be happy Also in fishy news there was a woman squatting on E Broadway today (and I mean squatting, she was literally sitting on her haunches). selling waht looked like some kind of small live clam (different from the kinds that are in the fishmarkets all the time) , probably (unlike a lot of the live seafood) of actual Asian origin (I collect shells and the clams looked an awful lot like a kind which is common in those mixed small shell bags you can buy in craft stores which come from the Phillipines.)

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                      Haiguazi??? Little dark clams? To be cooked with jiucengta small-leafed basil, garlic, and long red chilis? Why wasn't I there??? They're a holy grail.
                                                                                                                                                                      Mantis shrimp - are they the flattish segmented shrimp that have a sort of centipede-ish look to them?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                        Re mantis shrimp the ones they had were the ones that looked like this http://filebox.vt.edu/users/dhata/res...
                                                                                                                                                                        I suppose you could call that "centipede-ish"

                                                                                                                                                                        As for the clams they were sort of darkish quite small (maybe the size of an almond with the shell on) and had prominent ridges running parallel (more or less) to the hinge (as opposed to rays running perpendicualr to the hing like, for example you see on a scallop. Oh and on some the area right next to the hinge was purple (not that odd looking) or bright green (really odd looking, I assume it must have been algae given the shade).

                                                                                                                                                                        Actually when I fist started visitng the fish markets in CTWN, that was one of the things that really suprised me, how many of the molluscs whose shells I collected were being sold as food, and not just the ones that are native to around here. I still find it fascinating that people actually eat babylon snails (in case you don't know that name, those are the snails that look a bit like whelks with the whitish shells with the big brown polka-dots.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                          That's what I was thinking of in terms of the shrimp, and those clams do sound like what I've been looking for. I'll keep an eye out.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                            I think the clam seller was btwn center and bowery, but down the street (east) of the book and stationary store.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                            whoa you saw mantis shrimp? i havent seen them in the US. They are actually very good when done right, i recently had them at Qiao Tei (HK style chili crab place in HK), the meet is pretty sweet like lobster, they might have been even better than lobster actually

                                                                                                                                                                            here's a pic of my meal (i'm rsl229 on openrice.com): http://www.openrice.com/english/resta...

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                          I had mantis shrimp a while back at Fuleen. There's not much to them, and they're a bitch to peel. Also, they taste pretty much like regular shrimp. I was glad to have had the experience, but it's not something I'm likely to order again.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: small h

                                                                                                                                                                            i doubt the quality of mantis shrimp is very good here, they are not native to the americas, they live in more tropical waters (you see them swimming around in every fish market in hong kong). They should be really easy to eat if prepared right btw, the pic that i put up, you literally just pulled all the meat out, much easier than crab, similar to lobster. The meat shouldn't really taste like shrimp either, should be much more similar to lobster although i'd say a tad bit sweeter. i'm not sure id order them here even if i saw them.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                              Actually, Sqillia Mantis (the species in question here) is native to the Atlantic Ocean, on both sides . In fact the photo I posted two messages ago was taken on a fishing boat off Virginia as part of an ocean survey done by Virginia Tech. There are hundreds of species of matis shrim in the world and while it is true that many are indeed tropical many live in far more temperate waters.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                interesting, i wonder if they taste different, ive only had them in hong kong and maybe in singapore, but i think only in hk

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lau

                                                                                                                                                                                  Wed report 10/06/10

                                                                                                                                                                                  The rambutans once again look pretty decent, though they back ot the sort of yellowish ones with the green hairs. I think they may be the S. American crop, as Grand central market also had them fore sale (now if only the key limes would come back into stock.......)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Todays suprise fruit was found of all places at the fruit stand on the corner of Grand and Bowery (the one that sides agaisnt the drugstore) actuyally there were SEVERAL interrelated suprises. It's like this as I was walking down Grand headed for Bowery (and the bus stop) I saw that that stand had replaced it's sugar apples (they were the stand whose fruit had all turned black the last time I saw it) As it was no odds to me which side of the street I was on, I crossed to give them a closer look as I looked at the pile of plae green fruit with thier slight orange underlays, I saw a small quatuity of larger fruits on one side of the pile, which for some reason looked pinkish or reddish. Orignally I put this up to a trick of the light (they were in the shadow of a semi-translucent awning and it was red).....until I picked one up and noticed the fruit was STILL pink. They weren't sugar apples they were bullock's hearts (the super rare pink fruited member of the custard apple group) the second suprise came whne I looke at the rest of the pile and noted a few fruits that looked funny. piled amoung the sugar apples were three other custard apple members, two cherymoyas or somthing like them (remember I mentioned some time earlier, sugar apples have raised bumps, cherymoyas have recessed ones and one indeterminate, (it seems to have no bumps at all, almost looks like a guava from the outside (no it isn't one) those three I of couse bougt and took with me, but I only got one bullocks heart, so there are sill quite a few left for anyone seeking them. Ill let you know how they taste in a few days whne they soften up.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for keeping this going, jumpingmonk - I'm not in Chinatown quite as often as I was. Did the fruit ripen nicely?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                      Jumpingmonk and others, have you ever tried to get to know the vendors and specifically asked them where they are getting the various fruits, what species/varieties the fruits are, and which ones they recommend? (Or the higher-ups if the vendors on the street level don't know the actual details.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      Maybe if they realized how much interest there is, they would be happy to share a little of what they do know about their produce.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                                        I always consult the lady at Mulberry and Canal when there is more than one type of a particular fruit out as to which is better, but she is so busy that more than that would be a bit of an an imposition.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                                          racer x That sound like a fine idea but in my case, not really practicable. I am not (nor do I speak) any Chinese at all, so even the level of commication nessecary to buy the fruit that is there can be a little tricky (most of the vendors of course do speak some English, but there some degree of a language barrier or at least an accent barrier, is more or less inevitable). Trying to communicate on the level needed to ask such things would likey be beyond my abilites, and even if they could answer, most of the time I wouln't be able to correlate what they said with what I know (I am not familar with the Chinese names of most of the fruits, they (presumably) aren't familar with the Botanical Latin ones) as for which they reccomended, no merchant worth his or her salt, if offering two versions of the same fruit, would not reccomend whichever one sells for the higher price (that's just common business sense)

                                                                                                                                                                                          buttertart: As yet only the two smaller cheryimoyas have ripended and been consumed; the larger one and the pink one are still rock hard and have yet to be consumed. Actually the two little ones didn't soften either but they stared deviping the big cracks near the stem that indicate they were ready. they werent terrible (the second one was a bit tastier than the first) but as with the sugar apples the skin was a lot thicker and granier than I like (each fruit was about as big as a standard apple, take away the mass of the peel and one would probably be talking about and actual edible mass the size of an apricot; take away the seeds and you probably talking about a strawberry. A lot of effort for not a lot of reward.
                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh and before I forget the key limes came back to grand central market on thursday, so I'm once again blessed with thier availability
                                                                                                                                                                                          UPDATE The pink one was finally ripe today (at least I though ti was see below). This was much tastier than the green ones were (the only problem is that apparently the fruit wasn't fully ripe apparently members of the custard apple family must ripen in sections and I happend to feel a ripe portion so some of the fruit (about 1/3) was too hard to eat) I'd go so far as to say that, if you want some member of the Annoa family from Chinatown these pink ones may be the best choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                            I hate to tell you this but key limes are always available at Stop and Shop in NJ (or at least through their Peapod delivery service, which I use). $1.99/lb.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe at YOUR stop and shop, not at ours, at least not anymore (our local one went through renovations a year or so ago to become a "mega" store and when they re-opened they had basically stopped stocking (and refused to order) anything that smacked of being "ethnic". I am aware that those "susie" bags of key limes are avaialable more or less year round, but with most of our supermarkets (including oddly enough our branch of Four seasons, which specializes in lating american ingrediants) refusing to stock them (or any other form) keeping our lime supply up is more or less a matter of luck and buying up several bags whne we find them be it at Whole Foods, Baluducci's, Morton Willams or wherever. I use up at least one lime a day (its juice is a key part of the iced tea mixture I drink in leu of coffe.) so I so the bags go pretty fast (they also are needed for a lot of my cooking). Usually supplies in our house are sufficent to get us through periods when we have difficulty locating them, this time was an anamoly (In fact, it probably wouln't have happened at all, except my mom developed the habit every time she bought fresh limes, of tossing any that were still in the house in the trash rather than putting them to the side (where I could squeeze them en masse and freeze the juice for slack periods. But I have explained to her that just becuse a lime has gone brown doesn't mean it's no longer usable and we shouln't have such a problem again. It makes me almost wan't to buy a key lime tree (or grow one), except I know that no single tree would produce enough fruit to meet my needs (and alas I do not live soewhere where a key lime grove would work.)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've seen key limes at Trader Joe's.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you aren't averse to Walmart shopping, I've seen the key limes there too (Secaucus store).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's for the heads up, but my lime supply is stable at the moment. Addionally , my mom now does not toss out the old brown limes, so they do get squeezed and frozen, so I don't run out anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. If there are any other Canadian expats out there looking for chestnuts for turkey dressing, or any chestnut fanciers in general, they were $3.00/lb last Saturday - big and beautiful specimens.

                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                            Weekly update, 10/13/10

                                                                                                                                                                            Bad news, the Custard Apples/Bullocks hearts are almost all gone at the stand, and the ones that are still there have basically gone black. That seller now has a large pile of "legit" cheriymoyas (each in its own little foam net, like tomatoes and asian pears are sometimes sold in) Interestingly these cheriyomoyas not only look better they are cheaper (by about $2 per pound) than the remaining sugar apples. There was only one in the old pile that could have concevably been a bullocks heart and that one was so overripe it had split halfway down. all the rest had to be ordinary sugar apples, at least it think so (some of them had spikes on their skins so for a moment I though they might be guanabanas (soursops), but soursops are usually a lot bigger (Plus I understand that some kinds of custard apple can develop spikes on thier skins) just the same if anyone is in the vicinity of grand and bowery and does decied to buy a few of these spiky ones and they turn out to taste like soursops (much tarter than an ordinary custard apple)

                                                                                                                                                                            Good news (for anyone who was interested in the seafood) now everyone has mantis shrimp so the price has dropped quite a bit. Oh, and Butter, the clam woman is still there (she was at 65 E broadway today)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                              We were there last Sat and didn't see anything particularly exciting. Thanks a lot for keeping this going, jumpingmonk. I always learn something from you. Did you see this thread, by the way? Insights?
                                                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7390...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                They're fresh Jujube's they have to be thats the only thing that is like that. On the question of how to make them tasty, however your guess is as good as mine, I personally have had no better luck finding a way to make them palatable than the poster did. It's a bit like the attempts I'm making now to work with cancha/maiz chulpe (a kind of supersized, very floury corn commonnly grown in peru). No matter how I cook it it still tastes more or less (to me) like packing foam.

                                                                                                                                                                                And your welcome. Really I like doing this. I shoud point out however, that sometime around December/January I'll be flipping back to doing chinatown Flushing.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                  There are only intermittently interesting fruits in Manhattan Ctown during the late fall and winter, really. Was not there last weekend due to illness but the Saturday before I scored some Kyoho grapes at Hong Kong Supermarket on Hester for .99/lb. Quite nice. Still lots of the usual, pomelos, guavas, tired-looking rambutan, whatnot.

                                                                                                                                                                                  -----
                                                                                                                                                                                  Hong Kong Supermarket
                                                                                                                                                                                  157 Hester St, New York, NY 10013

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                    On my side The last piece of Ctown fruit I bought was a sugar apple the Wendsday before last Wendsday, as the seller still had one of the spiky ones I had seen the previos week. However it turned out to be terrible, really astringent and bitter (It did not taste like a soursop (which givne the spikes I though might be a possible identity, but it didn't taste much like a sugar apple either) That seller has now gone for the season (at least his corner was unoccuped and deviod of fruit last week). My route today is going to take me past the Mulberry street fruit line, So If I see anything interesting I let you know this afternoon. Oh, and a couple weeks ago I saw that the supermarket on E. Broadway (the one I mentioned before in connection with the grapes) now has the 4lb boxes as well.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Winter update - lots of good pomegranates (3 fror $5 mostly) and surprisingly good, large black cherries for around $2.00/lb. No doubt from South America but Chinatown fruit is almost never local, of course.

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                              Glad to see this thread is dead yet!

                                                                                                                                                                              On my side, I'm back in Flushing at the moment and probably will be for another 3-4 weeks. Over the time I've been here (I think I started around December) Ive noted little in the way of exiticing fruit. I think I saw some dragon fruit a few weeks back. I know I saw a lot of persimmons, becuse I remember seeing one with a reeeeally indecent extra growth. (mandrake syndrome strikes again!) I also remember seeing cherries becuse I remember noticing a lot of fused ones (for some reason the supermarket on Kissenea thats near Union get in a lot of cherries whose fruits are fused) everything else is just the usual blur.
                                                                                                                                                                              Actually a lot of my supermarket time there has been spent inside the markets; I'm follwing up a rumor someone told me about getting some unusually small, fat and tasty walnuts (I'm hoping that what he found was nuts of the Iron warnut (Juglans regina var. silligata) which I always wanted to plant in my yard).
                                                                                                                                                                              Finally before I close a final story, just basically for the laughs (and becuse I ahve reported on seafood in this thread before). There has been a standing joke amoung me and my fellow shellers (I collects shells, amoungst other things) that, given the diversity of seafood that is sold in the Asian fishmarkets, and how much of it is wild caught/collected (with the inevetable possibility of bycatch) that there is basically NO shell that I would be suprised to see every now and again at a market stall. Well about a month ago, I was in a market in Flushing, looking at a pile of babylon snails when my eye noticed something unusually shiny. Sure enougt mixed into those snails was a fully grown and fully alive Olive snail. Yes, it went into my bag and yes, I still have the shell. Maybe the second half of my joke (That one of these days I'd be picking around in a piles of snails at a fishmarket and find a fully adult member of one of the truly rare species of cowrie (my speciality in shells) along the lines of a tesselata lani or a thomasi) isn't as far fetched as I though when I made it.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                How fun re the snail!
                                                                                                                                                                                Walnuts from China? Those would be nice to find. Do report.
                                                                                                                                                                                The cherries in Manh Ctown are large and unfused, 85% or so of the ones I've got are very very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                  The funny thing is that that snail doesn't hold the record for the oddest thing that has come out of a Chinese fishmarket. THAT honor belongs to a bright yellow, black and red beetle that showed up in a buket of frogs. It seems to be closely related to a species called the Australian Fiddler Beetle, (though not the extact same species).. I've found a picture of one that confirms it is also Australian but I am as yet unsure of the actual species. I assume that the beetle fell into the box of frogs in Australia (a lot of the live frogs sld in Chinatown orginate there, if they don't come from Chile). Though I suppose it is also possible that it was some frogs regurgitated lunch, though I doubt it (apart from having drowned, the beetle was in perfect shape).
                                                                                                                                                                                  And of course, the piles have netted me LOTS of Hermit crabs, I've found at least a dozen (including a monster the size of a regular crab). Pity I still can't seem to get any of these things home alive or I might think of dusting off my old aquarium.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. This part would be particularly of interest to jumpingmonk but very interesting for Taiwanophiles in general (and they chose a great background for the photos, a punch in the gut of memory if you were there when I was): http://taipics.com/farmers_plants1.php (check the '60's color Taipei, it wasn't all that much different in the '80s').

                                                                                                                                                                              25 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                Interesting images, especially the "table shot" postcard from the turn of the century (the Japanese stamp used on the front is from around that time, it's very late Imperial Post) I did not know sugar apples were grown there that far back or starfruit for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                  Aren't they interesting? It made me happy to see the lian wu.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                    Latest update, March 16, 2011

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Several of the stands around Grand street have black sapotes (i.e. the fruit of the tree they get chicle (i.e the base of "real" chewing gum) from) however none seem to be ripe, and the sellers know this (they keept telling me to come back in a few more days when it will be ready (I wonder if the realize that black sapotes basically have to be all but rotting before they are soft enough, or flavorful enough to eat)
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. the large fruit stand has a supply of odd looking mangoes, very green and very small (whether this is another type, or simpy really really young and unripe ones (for those south east asians who cook with unripe mango) I don't know.
                                                                                                                                                                                    3. a lot of the stands have odd little apples. very small (about the size of a clementine) red to green with red streaks. Id think they were "lady apples" or crabapples, except they have "chins" (those pointy dimply bits on the bottom of some apples (caused by gibberellens)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you jumpingmonk, I was there on Saturday but didn't see much exciting other than the usual citrus/Asian pear/SA and Florida berries...
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Is sapote good when it is falling-apart ripe?
                                                                                                                                                                                      2. ? the small mangoes - how small? Wish someone would bring in the Taiwan (medium-sized pale green when ripe) tudi ("native") mangguo - the one I got in trouble with (poison ivy sensitivity). Those I'd make my husband peel and cut for me. Pure flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                      3. That IS a strange apple.
                                                                                                                                                                                      And please Chinatown fruit gods, let this be a lian wu year...please please.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. It depends. A very very good one has a taste slightly like floral honey, most normal ones are all but tasteless. Als even whne it is fully overripe it's very granular (like some pears, but more so). And of coure quite often by the time the fruit is soft enough to eat its also started to go moldy somewhere. Oh and the seeds are hard enough to chip a tooth if you bite into them, and big enough to make cutting the fruit in half risky (you can end up leaving razor sharp shards of seed coat all over)
                                                                                                                                                                                        2. A few of the green mangoes were as big as a medium orange, but most were about apricot size. They had a sign in phonetic SE asian (I don't speak any of those languages so I can't tell if it was Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian, Thai or what) Whne I went to pick one up the seller said "mangoes" so that's how I knew. (BTW he also has a lot of little SE asian type bananas (does anyone know if that kind is one of those that still has seeds?) as well as Banana flowers and bitter cucumbers).
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Unlike the first to I saw some of the apples at the big fruit market in front of the grocery store in the mall on E. broadway (though there you had to buy them by the fairly large bag) I'll be back in that area next Wendsday, so I may look into getting some then, if I'm not unduly overloaded.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                          The "large fruit stand" is on Grand? Where?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                            The one that's starts on the corner of Chrystie on the downtown side (across from the seafood market) and goes along parallel to the park and the raquetball courts next to the Colledge and towards Canal and the bridge (same block or block before Lucky Plaza and Yogee noodles). I suppose it is technically mostly on Chrystie, not on Grand. The stands with the apples were on Grand itself but further east around Eldrige. THe other stand with the sapotes was the one on the corner of Grand and Bowery

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                              I must spend more time on that side of Canal. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                One more piece of fruit info, that slipped my mind till now. One of the fruit stand in the market in Grand central station has kumquats, which is not suprising. What IS suprising is that they have the sort of oval ones (i.e. the kind that are actually sweet enought to eat as is (I think theyre called meiwas) as opposed to the long kind that seems to be what is usually sold in this country. I just had a few and for kumquats, they are unusually good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I should get some, they're a powerfully nostalgic fruit for me - when we went to the Florida keys from Canada when I was really little, we'd get them, and I was very taken with a fruit that you just ate the peel of. They were VERY sour.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    that sounds more like the "long" one that is really too puckery to eat out of had (though it does make a nice -ade whne I go to a bubble tea shop I usually order kumquat lemon or limeade (partly because I' not really a fan of tapioca) there are at least two more kinds out there, besides the two mentioned before. There's a perfectly round one, that is causing a lot of people confusion right now (it's the one the USPS put on the chinese new year stamp) and since most people are only familiar with the long one, the stamp papers are being choked with letters about if the fruits are kunquats or oranges (personally I think that they may be caldomins) the other is the so called "golden bean" kumquat of Hong Kong which is tiny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I agree that eating the peel is fun, In fact I always had a fun thought; since the kumquat can be crossed with things like oranges and limes and produce fertile offspring why has no one tried to cross it with a pomello, with its four in thick pith, the sugardy part is really the pith not the zest. That was always half of the breeding for my ultimate citrus (the other bits were a satsuma (for the sweet flesh) and an Ugli (for the low acidity and extreme juicyness (the ugli and pommelo would also cover for size)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That would be wonderful...would it were possible.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      My favorite is the Temple orange (wish that season were longer and they more widely distributed) - if you eat it when it's semi-frozen it's even more divine. Love the sweet-tart balance and grapefruity whiff of the peel. I didn't see it sold in Chinatown in season, maybe because it's tarter than a lot of other fruit and the flavor preference is a bit on the sweet side it seems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Genetically in terms of actual fertility it probably is possiblel if kumquats can cross with oranges, which they can and oranges can cross with pummelos which they can (that's actually what a grapefruit is) then a kumquat can probably cross with a pummelo. The real problem as I see it, is that when kumquats cross with other citrus, the part of the kumquat that comes over is usually the size, not the sweet pith. Limequats for example tend to be far closer to thier key lime side of the family than the kumquat one differing only in the slightly more elongatedv kumquat like shape (at least for the Tavaris limequat, the Eustis and Lakeland came from a round kumquat parent, so they look almost exactly like key limes just a little bigger) Also given how spongy the pith on a pummelo is you might get a cottony sweet pulp (sonewhere between a normal kumquats and a Buddha's hand) which might be a bit dry to eat. Oh and crossing with an Ugli is somtimes tricky, it's parentage is so mixed up it's pretty unstable in and of itself (or why eating them is a sort of crapshoot, you;ll either get the most wonderful juicy low acid orange taste you can imagine, or something that tastes much more like a grapefuit (fine for some, but i don't like grapefruit).

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember uglis being really good when they first hit the market but haven't been taken with them lately.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Limequats? Yum. Haven't seen those. Interesting the size is the dominant trait.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think that part of the problem is that, whne the Ugli first hit the market, it was treated as an exotic fruit (I think at the time they were still alll coming out of Jamaica) so they let them ripen naturally on the tree. Now that it's almost another commodity citrus (which means they need to have bigger production and lower per unit price) I think they pick them underrripe and ripen them in trasit, as is done with some oranges. This basically ruins the flavor (as well as leaving a lot of them juiceless). It's a bit like the situation with blood oranges, now that they've got so trendy the old stryle moro (with it's near black skin and dark purple flesh, is becoming less and less easy to find, becuse the Tangier (the larger one with the blush and the light orange purple flesh which I prefer) is bigger and more productive (and don't get me stared with the blood orange tangelo hybrid).

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The las time I saw limequats was at a branch of the Gourmet Garage supermarket (the one on 68th between 1st and 2nd I think) though Ive forgotten when in the year I did (so I don't know the season) you could also try Garden of Eden, they tend to be fairly good on extotic citrus. (I still pop in there from time to time hoping they get in more chocolate pudding fruit.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            -----
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Garden of Eden
                                                                                                                                                                                                            7 E 14th St, New York, NY 10003

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ortaniques are in season, but as usual they are hard to find away from Jamaican neighborhoods. Some years I've found them at Balduccis and at the fruit stand in the Grand Central market at the station end, but not this year so far. Is there a place to get them this year in Manhattan or Westchester?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: john959

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think I may have seen them the last time I went to Zeytina (in Croton) but don't hold me to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Blood orange/tangelo? What's wrong with that? Love both.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good to know about GG and Gof E, thanks as always.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No, orangetiques are different from ugli's (though an ugli based on its supposed paretage, could be considered an orangtique). Organtiques are smaller and have the bright orange skin of a tangerine or clementine. They tend to be round, with a "plug" at the stem end

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't say there was anything wrong with the blood orange/tengelo cross, I just dont care for it and am sad that it's squeezing (pardon my pun) the moro blood orange, which I do like out of the market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I've never seen it (blood orange/tangelo), where is it sold? Now I have to try it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Was all over Chinatown today and there wasn't much exciting - I got to that fruit stall and saw those apples, which certainly looked like miniature Delicious to me. They have them in net bags at HK Supermarket too. Not interested (although I do remember a time when a Delicious apple actually had taste - not my favorite then either, but it was my father's).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      PS I think the people collecting for Japan are Falun Gong - would not give any money to them for all the tea in China. Japanese Red Cross has my contribution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Once again, I think the first time I saw it was at Zaytina, up in Croton (closer to where I live) .However my mom brought some back from the supermarket a few weeks ago so I doubt they are all that uncommon. I'd just look around supermarkets till you see something that looks like a blood orange, but it too large to be one.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oddy (and I'm not sure whether or not it's worth telling you this in that it is a lead you can't follow up) there was an apple I once tasted at the Agracultural experiment station in Geneva (NY) back when I was in colledge, that made the best delecios apple taste like nothing (though alas it also had the deleciose's lack of crispyness) I unfortunately cant remember the name (or in this case, the species as it was a different one than a normal apple I think it was Malus chinensis x chinesis which is native to the szechuan area, but am not sure) but what I do remember was the color, they were almost dead white of skin an incredibly pale green (they went a bit yellower as they got older sort of cream colored).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I will keep my eyes peeled for them.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's a fascinating apple - must have been something to eat. I once got green apples in late summer from a lady from the mountains in Taiwan that were delicious but more along the lines of a Gravenstein (flavor better than texture). Not sure if native or not, ate fruit but didn't think about it as much then.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          PS bought some "mini apples" at the HKS, not the delicious-y ones - these are like miniature Fujis. Where are they getting these little guys from???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What drives me crazy is that I SHOULD have a tree of that apple in my yard, I was really carefull to save every seed and plant them. Sure enough come spring, I got some tiny apple trees started, they grew they thrived they got to be about 4 inches tall.... and then the gardeners yanked them all out becuse they decied the pot they were in "needed cleaning". It was one of the reasons we got rid of those gardeners (that plus the incident with the alyce clover, plus the time the dumped a pile of mulch in front of our walkway in order to make us buy it (after having dug up and walked away with our own mulch piles, to try and force us) and the time the dug up and re planted or even threw away our shrubs to make it easier for them to mow, well you get the idea. The ones we have now are a little better, though I think Immay have to put a fence around where the stump was if I don't want it mowed (I don't I need it for the bean experiments).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh no!!! Face it, being a gardener for you would be a daunting task!

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I was there yesterday and got this fruit that looks from the outside kind of like a potato. The sign said Thai kiwi and the lady (this was on Canal just west of Mott) said it needed to soften up a bit more then you peel and eat. Supposedly has 2 seeds inside. Anyone have any ideas what this fruit is? I think I saw an episode with Andrew Zimmerman Bizarre Foods where he ate one. But I can't find any info about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shirlockc

                                                                                                                                                                                      perhaps a chikoo? looks like a potato. brown flesh. few long, flat black seeds inside...when soft, extremely sweet and delicious..

                                                                                                                                                                                      here is a pic:
                                                                                                                                                                                      http://onedamnlife.wordpress.com/2011...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gurud

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've been to that stand, that is EXACTLY what those are, sapodillas. The downside is that they can take a very, very long time to go soft, and there are fair odds it may go moldy before then. On the bright side if you decied to plant the seeds, you can grow your own chewing gum (the sap of the tree is the source of chicle, which is the base in "natural" and "old fashioned" chewing gums).
                                                                                                                                                                                        Theres a similar looking fruit that may show up in a few months (it's actually latin, but nationality seems no impediment in fruit showing up in CTWN) called a mamey apple (it lookes a little bigger and more pointy) and the flesh is bright orange/red. The taste is a bit odd sort of like a watery version of heavily sugared sweet potatoes. Oh and white sapotes might show up soon as well (green skins look a little like overrounded guavas without the blossom mark on the end) Finally the pepinos (mentioned in the article) might show up soon both the regualr ones and possibly the other ones (theres a version that is much longer (like an icicle instead of a heart) and more purple.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                          Funny they call it Thai kiwi - they also call dragionfruit Chinese kiwi sometimes in Chinatown (could anything be less like a kiwi, except maybe for the interior seeds?). Especially amusing because the name kiwis were first known in the west was Chinese gooseberry!
                                                                                                                                                                                          Rambutan and longyan next week - why longyan, I have no idea, since they're later than litchi at origin. Litchi soon PLEASE!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks guys! The sapodilas weren't cheap but balance that out with my 6 mangoes for $5 and I'm happy enough. Hopefully they will soften soon as I'm anxious to try them.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: shirlockc

                                                                                                                                                                                              Jumpingmonk is a true expert, I'm just an amateur! Thanks as always, jumpingmonk.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shirlockc

                                                                                                                                                                                                The sapodilla finally softened enough to eat. Thanks for the tip jumpingmonk -- I washed it and kept an eagle eye out for mold. I brought it into work for a "show and tell" and a few people tried it -- one didn't like the texture. I quite liked it myself, rather like a very sweet melon with a bit of banana custardiness. Probably not going to be a regular part of my fruit roster (because it's rather expensive) but it was a cool novelty.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: gurud

                                                                                                                                                                                              Eh, I used to eat ciku (Malay spelling) in Malaysia. Not one of my favorite fruits at all. To each his/her own.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. MANGOSTEEN today, $9.00 lb (one of those bags must be over 2 lb). Also lots of longyan, mangoes, nice-looking papayas (ripe - too big for me since I'm the only papaya fancier in the house), and what must be a truckload of Florida strawberries for around $1.00 the pound box. FL Blueberries too. Dragon fruit (that enticing but disappointing creature). Where are the litchi??? Just a couple more weeks, I hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                              Buttertart - where did you see strawberries for $1/lb? I've been craving them big time, but our local market has them on "sale" for $2.50/lb and I knew I could do better.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This WILL be the summer that I try those mangosteens.

                                                                                                                                                                                              And yes, fresh litchi soon, please!

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: uwsister

                                                                                                                                                                                                The stand at the corner of Mulberry and Canal and just about everywhere else.
                                                                                                                                                                                                They also had some nice-looking carambolas (star fruit) if anyone's interested (not a personal favorite, too blah).

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Florida strawberries at only $1/pound? Why can't I find them here in Florida!
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I hope the ones you saw are at least good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  I got some from a local strawberry farm last month that cost about $8 for 1 1/2 pints and were pretty watery and flavorless (although they looked so gorgeous).

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: racer x

                                                                                                                                                                                                    These are CA I think. Tolerable but not terrific. I've been making a salad of strawberries, tomatoes, and feta cheese these days that's mighty tasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. We bought some yellow/orange mango today, and they were delicious - probably the best fruit I've ever had in NYC. Moist, juicy, almost melts in your mouth, amazing natural sweetness. They're also, unlike your standard red variety, not at all fibrous and very easy to cut - they don't get caught between your teeth either.

                                                                                                                                                                                              We got ours from a street vendor on Grand, just west of Canal, south side of the street, but we spotted them all over Chinatown.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Great stuff.
                                                                                                                                                                                              P.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Polecat

                                                                                                                                                                                                right now those are all over the city, almost every street fruit vendor

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Polecat

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Those are Champagne mangoes, Polecat. Don't get those confused with the type from Haiti which tend to be a bit bigger and more green than yellow. The Haiti ones are okay but have more fiber. Champagne mangoes are the best, almost fiberless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Lots of mangosteen today - I'm the only one who likes them and not enough for a $25.00 bag of them, really. Mangoes as mentioned below (wish i could indulge), black- and blueberries, papaya, dragonfruit (gee the NYT finally twigged to them), and the usual suspects. Litchis! I want litchis! I was hoping for some today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Forgot - a stand between Elizabeth and Mulberry had sapotes and "Caribbean" bananas (labeled as such) - the small finger-sized ones. The sign for the sapotes had the name in several languages. Having been deeply unimpressed with them the one and only time I tried them I passed them by.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. BTW, on the mango theme, I've had the Champagne from Mexico (my fav), the Francis green-ish/yellowish ones from Haiti and the more common Tommy Atkin greenish/reddish/thicker skinned ones from Florida. All for sale at various times down in the C-town. Has anyone ever seen the famed Indian type mango as mentioned in this NPR story down in C-town? http://www.npr.org/templates/story/st...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jackson Heights is not my naab even though I do love mangoes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shirlockc

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't but since I love them and am allergic I try not to look too closely. jumpingmonk?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hard to tell, as the mango in the picture is already cut so I can't see the surface. Ive been seeing a lot of very small (about peach sized) yellow mangoes around Chinatown, but what type they are I do not know (I don't care for the taste of mango, and so do not pay much attention to the mangoes offered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. A new thread for the 2011 fruit season has been requested and started:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/786377