31 New Things: Try A Horned Melon

When one pays five dollars for a piece of fruit, one can be excused for having some rather high expectations, right? But I knew that things weren’t necessarily going to go well when the cashier couldn’t identify said fruit and spent five minutes paging through what appeared to be a 2-inch-thick Fruit and Veg picture dictionary.I trundled my prickly little piece of goodness home and plunked it in my decorative fruit bowl, in an attempt to my kitchen look like a Gourmet magazine photo shoot and give the apples an inferiority complex. After a few days of admiring my horned melon, I finally worked up the nerve to slice into it and have a nibble.

Findings? A loud and resounding ‘meh.’

Imagine a cross between a cucumber and a deeply mediocre kiwi fruit. Refreshing, pulpy, seedy and slightly sour. Sure, it’s looks like the Bjork of the produce aisle but it tastes more like Sarah McLachlan. Or at least what I imagine her fruit counterpart would taste like.

For five stinking dollars I want mouth-gasms! I want previously untasted flavors! I want something that doesn’t taste like a cucumber dressed in lemon juice!

Fruit that is worth five dollars you say?

Kumquats

A million dollars? Yes. But they’re like little tiny grape oranges! This is how you eat them: dipped in dark chocolate ganache (read: chocolate chips that you melt with evaporated milk). Eat them whole, skins and seeds and all. Soooo goood.

Lychees

Okay, these are just kind of good. They have the texture of olives and somehow manage to taste like canned fruit despite being fresh. However! They’re gorgeous and fun to pick apart. Put a big bowl of them on the patio table and pick at them with your girlfriends while drinking wine.

Jackfruit

I became addicted to jackfruit while backpacking through Thailand. Despite looking like a flower, it tastes like bubble gum. Truly! If Willy Wonka invented a fruit, this would be it.

Passion fruit

Would you judge me if I told you that passion fruit is best consumed with a bit of sugar and a shot of vodka? Like, cut open the hard outer shell, stir the pulp to loosen it from the sides, add a teaspoon of sugar and a shot of vodka and glug the mixture right out of the shell? Yum!Or I guess you could add it to yogurt or top ice cream with it. If you’re into that.

Other fruit that is not worth five dollars? (in my humble opinion)
* durian fruit (smells like stale vomit)
* custard apples (hard, white, big seeds)
* asian pears (you bore me)
* dragon fruit (so pretty! so exotic! so bland!)

Have you ever tried a horned melon? What strange fruit or vegetables do you like?

34 Comments

Caitlin

Durian fruit…is the. worst. We had a Vietnamese friend who cooked for us all the time a couple of years ago, and his food was always amazing until he cut open the Durian fruit. The smell alone will turn anyone off!

Must…find…jackfruit…

Reply
inês

i've always wanted to try a lychee, everyone says they're amazing!

i actually love loquats, they're all i eat during the summer, but i'm not really sure if it could be considered "strange" as they're very popular here in Portugal.

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Vanessa

I've never had a kumquat, but now I'm determined to find one and dip it in chocolate.

But Asian pears not worth it? I disagree with you here. They're so sweet and light and juicy. They may be my favorite fruit. Five dollars is a lot for any fruit. I feel you are judging the poor little Asian pear harshly 😛

Reply
Vixel

I *Adore* lychees, and there's a Japanese restaurant in my town that has a vodka-based lychee cocktail that's out of this world!

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Jen

I think the best fruit I've ever tasted was that plucked straight from a tree on the side of the road in St. Kitts while I was 4-wheeling! I can't remember if it was a mango or guava or what, but it was DELICIOUS.

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Lorra

Durian is AWESOME – I just wish it wasn't such a tumour-like texture. So I freeze it. Yum! I don't have a sense of smell, really, so that is a non-issue for me. I love the flavour.

I wasn't impressed with horned melon, either.

Weird fruit I love? MANGOSTEEN. Good god, spend the money on it. It's like a grape-strawberry with lychee texture (I am allergic to lychee, alas).

I really want to try jackfruit. I was out of luck when I went to Hawaii as it wasn't in season yet.

I did try chico sapodilla (awesome, like brown sugar) and black sapote (like chocolate mousse). Delish!

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emelline

durian is amaaaaaaaaazing. so delicious and creamy! well, once you get past the smell.

true story: freshman year in college, one of the first year dorms was evacuated and inspectors called in to take care of a gas leak. there was actually not a gas leak- instead, they found durian.

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Katie

There's a fabulous Asian market near my house, and every week my boyfriend tries to work up the nerve to buy a durian. He's yet to smell or taste one, but we've heard the stories.

I think we'll wait until it's warmer and we can try it outdoors – better ventilation.

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Mallory

I tried Durian about a year ago, it reminded me of sweet, carmelized onions. If you plugged your nose, I didn't think it tasted half bad haha. But who wants to eat like that? Especially after taking about 20 minutes to chop through the outer shell…

Reply
Alyssa

Haha, it's funny to see your take on how you good/bad you think these fruits are/ what you compare their taste to. I grew up in a 100% Vietnamese household so I personally love a lot of these fruits..including Durian! And I've never thought that Jackfruit taste like bubble gum. But I do feel like.. whether or not one likes these fruits, depends on the quality of where and when they get them. This can be especially true for Lychee's! So maybe you could consider giving that a try again. Or if not, a delicious batch of Longans could do the trick..they tend to be muchhh juicier and sweeter.. mmMMm..

The one fruit that tops it all in my book is Mangosteen..but it's really hard to get your hands on any…even if you're in Southeast Asia.. Expensive goodies that go out of season relatively quickly! But SOOOO good!!

Reply
Helen

I love pommegranates, they're so variable in expensiveness though
I spent a couple of months in India in 2006 and ate loads of pommegranates and jack fruit cut out by people on the street
I also ate Shea nut fruit in Burkina Faso, its the fruit around the nut that shea butter is made from and is a bit weird but I did like it
I don't like fresh papaya, I think it tastes and smells like sick
also custard apples are not great, I think maybe because I ate some unripe ones in India

Reply
Helen

Oh god I HATE lychees! It's not so much the taste, but they actually make me feel physically sick to bite into one. Sounds strange but they make me think of eyeballs. Ick ick ick.
I do love aisan pears, but I tend to get them cheap from local markets – no way I'd pay 5 dollars for one!

I really like cape gooseberries actually, they're a bit pricey, but they're really tasty, especially in a crumble.

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Millie

Aaah dragonfruit is so gross, or at least the one I tried was. It's bitter and has such an awful texture!

I'm not sure if cape gooseberries are significantly different than the gooseberries I get in the grocery store, but I love jam made from them.

Reply
daisybabie

Oh my gosh! Jackfruit is soooo awesome! I'm from India originally, so used to have Jackfruit galore. I don't think I've ever found a non-canned jackfruit here in the States anywhere though.
You're a really good writer. Definitely a conjurer of magic with words.

Cheers!

Reply
jamie

oh no you hate custard apples? I really thought they were gross until someone at the grocery store told me I was eating them wrong… apparently you are supposed to wait until they are really soft, and then they are sweet and delicious.

I still agree with you about the seeds though. why hasn't anyone bred that out yet? (:

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Anonymous

I'm obsessed with lianwu but they're hard to find in the US. I'm not sure what their English name is, but since you were in Taiwan for a while (right?), I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Bala – guava obvs, but I'm using the Taiwanese name to indicate the type I mean – are great too, but only the tiny, hard, slightly sour green-outsides-white-insides ones. And of course passionfruit, and those funny little black horn-shaped things that I can never remember the name of, and cactus fruit, and and and…

Reply
Danielle

Omg durian is GREAT! I loved it frozen and eaten like ice cream. And mangosteen is godly. I would go to Hong Kong again just so I could eat a durian mangosteen lychee combination again. Delicious.

For those of you who don't want to chop open a durian, I've seen them pre-chopped and in plastic containers before at Chinese markets (try the big ones, like Ranch 99)

Reply
eileen

vodka IN the passion fruit? I must have it! suddenly I am so sad it's still citrus season. (although citrus of all kinds = awesome.)

third the loquats. those trees grow ALL over the place in my old california neighborhood. ther were also a bunch of fig trees, several of which were in vacant lots, and plum trees lining our complex parking lot. free awesome seasonal fruit is the best.

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Anonymous

not that exotic, but grapples are. so. good. the name leaves something to be desired and it looks, well, just like an apple, but i fraking love them. very tasty

Reply
alphaandomega

lychees and passionfruits are awesome!
Still have to try dragon fruit.

I'm kind of iffy about durian fruit…the smell might be a bit off-putting for me and smell does affect how things taste, so it might ruin it…

Reply
Ronda

AH! your so exotic and have been so many places!!! my newest goal is to try jackfruit, i have never even heard of it. I love trying new things and experiencing new culture. I am living vicariously through you till i get to travel too! 😀

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Quynh

Hello!
Fresh jackfruit can be found in southern California.

I second the love for mangosteen. On your next trip around the world, when you try it, take note of the petals on the underside of the skin, it represents the number of juicy fruit wedges inside. As a child, I learned to count with that and fought with my cousins to get the ones with the most fruit!

Logans! Similar to lychees but better tasting. It is sweet but doesn't have the dry after taste of lychees. This may sound gross but again, as kids in viet nam, with limited toys, we would wash the seeds after you eat lychees or logans and play with them. Could be used for counting as well.

One more fruit for your list: rambuttan. It looks funny but worth an exploration!

Quynh

Reply
Farmer Jo

This made me laugh! I am always disapointed when I get tropical fruit in the states vs. the tropical place I ate it first.
I would third mangosteens as totally worth $5. Or the fruit covered in red prickly hairs… I am not sure of the name.

Reply
kathryn-louisa

Really bizarrely, both custard apples and durian fruit came up in a conversation about disappointing fruit earlier today. As did strasberries (some sort of strawberry/raspberry hybrid our local supermarket has started selling). Lychees and passionfruit = amazing though. Could literally eat them forever.

xx

Reply
Cait

My hatred for jackfruit is powerful. UGH. I don't even like regular bubblegum, let alone weird slimy yellow bubblegum flavored fruit.

Also: Inca Kola is gross. It is also yellow and bubblegum flavored.

I really miss gineps, though. They're related to lichees, but even more delicious, and you can buy tiny bundles of them out of bus windows in Jamaica.

Red bananas! Tiny fat red bananas with thin thin skin! (In Ecuador we called them manzana bananas.) I miss them a lot.

And- I know they're not fruit, but OH PERUVIAN POTATOES. When will they start importing those?

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spindelmaker

Hi, I just found your blog, and have been roaming around on your happy site! Just wanted to let you know, I have "41 things to do before I turn 42" and a couple of links to other peoples lists too, if you are interested in having a look. I just added your name to the list too. Hope you don´t mind. It´s nice to get inspiration from each other 🙂
I absolutely adore your Karma-cards.

Reply
Aarohi Narain

Well I think dragonfruit is completely worth 5 bucks and more! The first time I ate them was in Vietnam and they were really flavorful, contrary to your comments. But this entire post is really interesting and wonderfully written. Awesome job. 😀

Reply

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