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Enter the Dragon Fruit

September 8, 2010

Let me take you back to last week.  Dear Wife has just come home from the store, and is unloading the groceries while I am watching B.T.

“I got you a dragon,” she says.

Of course, I am intrigued.  The word “dragon” is typically reserved to describe only things that are awesome.  But what could she have gotten at the grocery store that would attain to such heights of awesomeness as to be called a dragon?

It was not long until the groceries were appropriately put away, and the truth was revealed.

“It’s called a dragon fruit,” says dear wife, again.  I am still intrigued.  It is one of the most unusual fruit I have ever seen.  You can see, right away, why it is called a dragon fruit.

Dragon Fruit

A Fire-breathing Dragon Fruit

I am calling this post, humorously, a review – because I am going to share with you the experience of eating a dragon fruit.  The exterior of the fruit is bright red with scales that suggest the fruit’s namesake. 

It’s intimidating, scary even.  (Note that the pictured dragon fruit is scarier than the actual fruit I consumed – the scaly spines were snipped away on ours.)  A sibling had recently had dragon fruit, and described it as “sweet”.  The internet promised that it tasted something like a cross between a kiwi and a pear, and that it was sweet and soft, pulpy, and juicy.  It sounded promising. 

Meat of the Fruit

The Meat of the Fruit

But we have only just begun our amazing journey.  While the fruit is indeed frightening and draconic in appearance, the interior of the fruit offers new surprises: a white and seedy meat that suggests a pale kiwi.  This is promising, since the fruit was praised as being kiwi-like in flavor.

So, I carefully extracted the fruit from the inedible red shell, cut it into bite-size pieces, and and served some to Dear Wife and some to myself. 

And now comes the hard truth.  The internet did not entirely lie when it suggested that dragon fruit tasted like a cross between kiwi and pear.  The truth, however, is that it tastes like a cross between a kiwi, a pear, and a large mass of flavorless, papery pulp.  Which is to say, it had a very weak flavor, and was mostly water and a peculiar texture.  The tiny seeds in the thing gave one the uncomfortable sensation of biting into a colony of crunchy little insects.

All in all, in truth, it wasn’t a bad experience.  But neither was it anything even approaching moderately good.  It was at times unpleasant due to the texture, but ultimately the dragon fruit was mostly bland and flavorless.  I think Dear Wife summarized it best when she said, after having finished her last bite of Dragon Fruit:

“I don’t think I’ll be buying this again.”

What about you?  Have you recently consumed any strange or exotic fruits or vegetables?  Share your sordid tales in the comments.

28 Comments leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 1:46 pm

    I actually enjoy dragon fruit! I think it’s odd that this one had a papery texture… maybe it was overripe? It should be juicy, like a watermelon/kiwi. I prefer it chilled, something refreshing for a summer day.

    The strange fruit I’ve eaten are too many to mention 🙂 That’s what happens when your ancestors come from a tropical country.

    Though, the one fruit I can’t seem to enjoy is durian. It stinks! Some people love it though, and durian flavored candies are popular. When people bring it over to the house, my parents make them eat the fruit /store the fruit outside. It’s that smelly, and at least to me, it tastes how it smells. Sticky… sweet… pungent. Hard to describe.

    • September 8, 2010 2:04 pm

      Oh, I’ve heard of the “joys” of durian… And how it smells like old, sweaty shoe. “Papery” isn’t quite a correct characterization. I just used “paper” as an example of the flavor: which is to say there’s something in my mouth, but it doesn’t taste like good, juicy sweetness. It just tastes like some wet, tasteless substance. It might’ve been overripe… Dear Wife and I, never having had the fruit before, don’t have a good sense of what is the right amount of ripeness for this fruit. Impossible to say, but I think it just didn’t rise to our expectations. I think we were expecting something a little more flavorful. In the absence of a strong, fruity flavor… I was just left to dwell on the texture, which, given the seediness, wasn’t anything spectacular. On the other hand… the internet makes it clear that lots of people like this fruit. So I don’t mean to knock it, per se… it’s just not for us.

  2. September 8, 2010 6:10 pm

    Firstly, this is a very random post haha

    I’ve never even heard of dragon fruit but it looks awesome even if its taste isn’t fantastic. I don’t think I’d like it. Don’t like kiwifruit (even though I am a kiwi and we seem to put it on every kind of desert) and pears aren’t my fav either. Give me a plum or nectarine and I’m happy 🙂

    • September 8, 2010 6:11 pm

      A kiwi who doesn’t like kiwi? Isn’t there some kind of law against that? 😉

      • September 11, 2010 5:10 am

        I hope not! I don’t like tomato sauce (ketchup for Americans) either, and that’s almost illegal in New Zealand!

      • September 11, 2010 12:51 pm

        It’s a good thing it’s not, then!

  3. Doro permalink
    September 8, 2010 7:39 pm

    I laughed long and hard all throughout this dear brother. While I have not yet had dragon fruit, I doubt that your review will be influencing my decision to try it in the future if such an occasion is offered.

    • September 9, 2010 8:41 am

      I’m glad you laughed… that was kind of the point! Not to tell anyone whether they should or shouldn’t try dragon fruit… but just to relate our funny story when we tried it.

  4. September 8, 2010 11:57 pm

    I thought I stumbled onto a culinary site 🙂 The dragon fruit looks pretty on the outside, but based on your “review”, I don’t think I’m up for trying it.

    I can’t share any exotic fruits I’ve tried because I have very boring tastes in food…I stick to what I know…it’s safer that way!

    • September 9, 2010 9:15 am

      Yeah, it’s a cool looking fruit. But I wouldn’t go by just my “review”… Although, if you tend to play it safe, maybe my review is good for you. I like to be a little adventurous sometimes… every once in a while… but I always return to my old favorites.

  5. Harry Markov permalink
    September 9, 2010 1:42 am

    Like a watermelon? They are mostly water with seeds and not with the strongest flavor at all. Rather annoying.

    • September 9, 2010 9:17 am

      You know, people don’t get it, but that’s my beef with watermelon, too. I like the flavor of watermelon… except that watermelon barely tastes like watermelon. Mostly water and spongey stuff and seeds…

  6. Lua permalink
    September 9, 2010 5:21 am

    Haha oh wow! This was a great review Stephen! … I’m sorry about the fruit not being able to live up to its name 🙂
    I had a similar experience with passion fruit… Sounds good, smells good- looks gross and tastes weird! 🙂

    • September 9, 2010 9:18 am

      Ha. I don’t know if I’ve had passion fruit. May have to give it a try some day… As you said, it sounds great!

  7. September 11, 2010 12:10 am

    Lovely, it is good to be adventurous. I’d never had kiwi fruit until college (and then once… more frequently when I got to graduate school). Of course, your not selling me on this dragon fruit (which by the way looks the way I’d imagine ngaw from Paolo Bacigalupi’s Windup Girl).

    • September 11, 2010 12:37 pm

      Haven’t read Windup Girl, yet, though it’s on my list… A quick web search shows that ngaw is similar but much spikier.

      • September 12, 2010 12:19 pm

        I enjoyed it. The way they talked about the ngaw, I thought it was a genetically engineered fruit. Amusing.

      • September 13, 2010 8:46 am

        Based on what I’ve read about the plot, it probably is supposed to be an engineered variety.

      • September 14, 2010 9:17 pm

        I think you are right. I think they mentioned that they looked like “rambutan” and I could see them possibly using a name that was used before.

  8. September 11, 2010 12:13 am

    Yes, yes, I decided to write a second post after reading everyone else. The dragon fruit’s “failure” may be a buy local thing. I despised pineapple until I was in Costa Rica; now my rule is Pineapple’s ok, if I can pick it off the “bush”.

  9. September 13, 2010 4:46 am

    Ha ha! Great story. Passion fruits are pretty awful, if you ever get your hands on one. Someone once described it as “Something out of Dr. Who.” They were dead on. Really tasty, but nothing you’d put in front of company unless it was pureéd.

    • September 13, 2010 8:54 am

      Hmm. I feel like I had a passion fruit not too long ago. I can’t remember precisely, but it was definitely some kind of exotic fruit. Anyway… it wasn’t as great as I was hoping…

  10. September 13, 2010 2:51 pm

    I have recently consumed a lot of strange food that looks like real food but isn’t really because I’m in London and in college – a horrid combination for culinary adventures. I’m getting used to it, but my Italian side is crying.

    • September 14, 2010 9:38 am

      Ha! I’ve heard tale of the terrible reputation of English cuisine… But part of me thinks it can’t be all that bad. College food, however… there’s truly no redeeming value there. For that, I feel for you…

  11. The Knight permalink
    September 27, 2010 1:07 am

    What an interesting article! I want to try that Dragon fruit! Sounds so interesting. I will actually look forward to try Chirimoya, Nispero, and Lucuma when I go visit Chile this year.
    Chirimoya and Lucuma are so good that they make cakes and ice cream out of them 🙂

    Now, my goal is to go to the Asian market and try different exotic fruits! Lychee are good and exotic too.

    • September 27, 2010 9:04 am

      Hmm. Those are definitely some exotic fruits, alright. I don’t think they have those at the local farmer’s market.

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