The Chinese love their fruit and eat vast quantities. A platter of fresh peeled and sliced fruit is always served at the end of a Chinese meal, and no breakfast buffet would be complete without a huge selection being offered.
Apart from all the fruits we know and love, which are here in spades, there are all these other fruits available, some of which are totally unknown in the west.
Number one, and the big bruiser in the Chinese fruit market is the Durian. It is mostly grown in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Twice the size of a pineapple, and covered with spikes it is instantly recognisable – in fact you could recognise it blindfolded because of it’s very distinctive smell. Like Marmite, people either love it or loathe it (I fall into the latter category).
Singapore has made it illegal to carry durian on public transport, most SE Asian airlines ban it too, and in many other countries you are not permitted to take it into hotels, hospitals or any other public places. The pulp has a soft creamy consistency, and I would describe the taste/aroma as being like a rich, almondy custard flavoured with garlic and rotten onions being consumed over an open sewer. The American food writer Anthony Bourdain (who professes to like eating durian) once described it thus: “Your breath will smell as if you’d been French-kissing your dead grandmother.”
My absolute favourite of all the exotic fruit I’ve tried so far is the Yangmei
or Chinese Bayberry; they are the most gorgeous colour and taste like a strawberry/raspberry combo with a touch of tartness. Apparently they are rich in Vitamin C and help inhibit E-coli!
I love fruit, but obviously not to the same extent as the Chinese, it would never have occurred to me to produce (or eat) fruit flavoured potato crisps like the ones I have seen in supermarkets here. On behalf of you all I went out and bought two packets – one blueberry flavoured, and the other lime flavoured. No, I can’t see these catching on in Sainsburys.