List of exotic fruit commonly eaten in China, have you tried yet?
Tasting the exotic fruits of China could be part of your travel adventure in China. Let’s take a look at the list of exotic fruit of the odd-shaped and vibrant-colored that you may have never heard of.
Exotic, flavorsome and strange are some words you might use to describe Chinese fruits. China is a vast country and the range of fruit the Chinese eat is just as big. On sale at the country’s supermarkets and mom-and-pop grocery stores you’ll find exotic fruit that’s native to China, along with the nation’s favorite imports from surrounding Asian countries.
1. Jujube (红枣 hóngzǎo)
Jujube are a kind of date. But most Westerners maybe are unfamiliar with dates. Fresh ones look like old brown cherry apples, and if you see them, you might think that is what they are and not try them. They are delicious. They taste better than cherry apples.
2. Mangosteens (山竹 shānzhú)
Mangosteens are not like mangoes at all. Unlike thin-skinned mangoes, they have a thick hard purple skin that must be peeled away revealing white meat and a pit. This fruit isn’t generally known in America since foreign imports of this fruit is banned.
3. Durian (榴莲 liúlián)
For Chinese, the big durians covered with sharp spikes are probably the most popular of the exotic tropical fruits. It is called the “King of Fruits.” It is so popular, it is among the most expensive of fruits when it is in season.
You can find it in every fruit market in season, and it is so relished, few people can afford to eat it often. It costs about 100 RMB (15 USD) or more a kilo in season and is sold in most fruit stores.
What make is strange is the spiky hard skin, it’s huge size, like a small or medium watermelon, and the yellowish or whitish meat. Until you try it, you might think it stinks, but the taste is like an exquisite custard pudding made with almond oil. It is quite nutritious and filling, and if you like it, you’ll think it smells good.
4. Dragonfruit (火龙果 huǒlóngguǒ)
Dragon fruit is another strikingly unusual common fruit in China you may have never eaten. The striking purplish-red color of its skin with the projections coming off it may make it seem unpalatable. The skin isn’t palatable, but the white or red meat with little black seeds inside is delicious. Unlike durian, dragon fruit doesn’t have side effects.
Eating them seems to have the same effect as eating common foods like bananas or pears, but they are good for you and more nutritional.
5. Bayberry (杨梅 yángméi)
These fruits are so different, strangely textured, and brightly red-purple colored, they catch your eye when you see them. Like rambutans, they also look furry. Their color makes them look delicious. And they are a very good health promoting food.
These are often sold in the streets in season. They are not expensive. Give them a try. There are no known adverse health effects. They are about 2 to 3 centimeters in diameter. The fruit’s pulp is similar in color, but may be somewhat lighter. Americans might call it “yumberry.”
6. Rambutans (红毛丹 hóngmáodān)
Rambutans are the third strangest fruit. They look furry. 红毛丹 means “red haired pellet.” They are about the size of ping pong balls or golf balls. People don’t eat the skin. They are similar to lychees and longans. The red/green hairs make them look strange.
If you’ve eaten lychees or longans, these are about the same, except they are less juicy and sometimes more tart. People usually prefer eating lychees over rambutans.
7. Lychee (荔枝 lìzhi)
If you’ve eaten at Chinese restaurants in the West, you’ve probably seen peeled and canned lychees that are a common desert. But the fresh ones are better! They are eye-catching in the market with a red skin. It is a common southern Chinese fruit. It is so common, a lot of lychee trees grow in the public parks.
It is an extreme Yang fruit. So Chinese show this by writing the word “li” by writing the character for power 3 times. It is a summer fruit that perishes quickly.
Longans are very similar to lychees and taste about the same, but they come in season right after lychees do. It seems like they are the same fruit with a different skin color and slightly smaller.
8. Goji Berries (枸杞子 gǒuqǐzǐ)
Goji berries, also known as Chinese Wolfberries, belong to the same plant family as potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and chili peppers and are native to China’s northwestern region. When fresh, they look like cherry tomatoes.
But there are almost never sold fresh. They are dried like raisins. They are sold loose and in small bags in most supermarkets or they are sold in bags in Chinese medicine stores that abound all over China, almost on every block.
9. Pomelos (柚子 yòuzi)
What makes this citrus fruit surprising is it size. It is much bigger than a grapefruit. This surprising fruit is becoming more common in Western supermarkets, but you may have never eaten one. The size is what makes it intriguing. “Is that a super-big grapefruit?” Unfortunately, the taste doesn’t match their size. Much of the size is due to its very thick skin. To Westerners, it doesn’t taste very good. It is the least appreciated of all these exotic fruits.
Pomelos are used in cooking when in season in late fall and right before new year. But they are also eaten raw. They are acknowledged to bring good luck to the household, so these are one of the fruits traditionally given as New Year gifts. They also make for Christmas gifts
10. Persimmons (柿子 shìzi)
This is a wonderful fruit; perhaps the most delicious of all these when fully ripe and it is bursting with flavor and starts to crack open! It is a fall season fruit, and shouldn’t be missed.
They look like orange tomatoes to some extent, but they grow on trees. Southern Chinese call tomatoes “red western persimmons” because of the similarity of the look.