Tuesday, June 17, 2008


"Wang, what's the name of this fruit?"


"Sanzhu," I repeated. "Do you happen to know what it is in English?"

"I think it might be...passionfruit; although, I'm not sure."

"This is passionfruit?" I asked rhetorically, examiming the plum-sized, purple-ish fruit.

I bought one and broke it open. The exterior is not a plum-like skin. It's woodier and feels like tearing thick, wet cardboard. I'm not sure what I expected, but I was surprised to see a white interior that segments apart like a tangerine. I put a piece in my mouth. The fruit was moist and sweet, and I was feeling the passion. The flavor was familiar, but I struggled to recall why.

"Maybe a little like raspberries," I said to myself quietly and without confidence. I wasn't satisfied with that answer, but I put another segment into my mouth and savored the juices. "Why do we not eat these in the states?" I questioned. We eat apples, and pears, and bananas. They're fine fruits, to be sure, but where are the passionfruits? Canteloupe and honeydew do not taste near as good as their frequency of consumption would suggest, I decide as I contemplate the issue further.

To make matters worse, we disguise some of the best fruits with horrible-sounding names. How many young children trudge up to their mother, tug on her sleeve, and request a pomegranite? The taste is divine, but the name sounds like the answer to a question I got wrong on my geology test. No, instead the child asks for a peach, and then cringes at the texture of velvet in his mouth and fuzz sticking to his tongue and lips.

I've seen a fruit in China that I think we can learn a lesson from--dragonfruit. What the dragonfruit lacks in taste, it makes up for in appearance. If you haven't seen one, picture an artichoke during breeding season. The exterior is crimson and decorative. A soft, white substance lies beneath with small, black seeds diffused randomly throughout. As far as taste is concerned, the closest comparison is a watered-down kiwi. It's nearly tasteless, only slightly sweet. However, with a fancy shell and a name like "dragonfruit", I'm convinced teenagers in arcades would trade their hard-earned game tickets in for these while the pogs and temporary tattoos sat collecting dust.

I plop the last white wedge into my mouth and ask the lady behind the register for half a dozen more. "Sanzhu." I say the name once more in an effort to commit this new-found delicacy to memory. I really hope this is passionfruit, I continue in my mind, because if its name ends up being something like "pomegranite" I'll be buying mangos next time...and maybe a dragonfruit.


Anonymous said...

Jeff! Brady and I LOVE sitting by the computer reading your stories and laughing! I will seriously be disappointed if you go your whole life w/o writing a real book. although.. i'm sure it'd be pretty long.. considering you can write about a piece of fruit for five minutes. anyways- keep the stories coming! we look forward to more!!

da Bergs said...

YUM! Now that my mouths is watering... AND, you never said, WHY DON'T we get passionfruit in the states??!!! I want one! Now.

mama K said...

I want some passion fruit!! It is very difficult to describe in words a taste, a smell, a texture, and all the descriptions that you included in your essay on Chinese fruits. I wholeheartedly agree with Lindsay and Brady. I want to hear every detail of life in China...all the details that the other authors don't include!!

Jeff said...

Editors note:

Wang and I decided to look the fruit up online for verification. As it turns out, it really isn't passionfruit...haha....aaah! It looks similar to a passionfruit, but the inside is totally different. The fruit I described is actually called a "mangosteen" in English, and it grows on trees in India. Never seen them in the states, and I'm not really sure why. Perhaps it's the cost of importing them.

Allison said...

Oh my gosh! Only you could write something that well and descriptive about fruit! Seriosuly. I was dying with all the description...too many to recall now. TOO FUNNY!!

mama K said...

Jeff, mangosteen is very popular in all the new juices that companies have come out with in the past few years. It is super healthy! Since you have recently acquired such a strong testimony of mangosteen, get your butt back to the states and I'll set you up in business marketing that fabulous fruit! Very high in antioxidants!!

t.whitty said...

mangosteen.....YOU IDIOT!!! ha, j/k. just want you to know "duhlyryus' blog" is on my favorites toolbar. 我很喜欢你写的故事,写得真好!

The Bergquists said...

LOL have you never had passionfruit juice here in the states before? ... Um I have a favor to ask of you, if by chance you go to the olympics over there in china could you check out the gymnastics and take a few pics for me? Thanks! : )