My Favorite Taiwanese Fruits

by ilene on November 10, 2011 · 13 comments

in travel

Hi guys! We are still in Taiwan! I’m writing these posts from our hotel room out here in the middle of a very wet, rainy week.  Jeff’s here on a three week business trip and I am along for the ride.  While Jeff’s been waking up at 5am and working long hours, my days mostly consists of sleeping in, eating at the glorious hotel breakfast buffet, consuming $1 boba teas, going to the swanky gym (to work off aforementioned bobas), doing some laps at the pool and watching all five seasons of Friday Night Lights (totally addicted to this show! go panthers!). Not a bad life, eh?

I thought I’d share with you guys some of my favorite foods from Taiwan- all the exotic fruit!!  Everywhere you go in Taiwan there are all these fresh fruit stands on the streets. A lot of times they are sold pre-washed and cut in baggies, all ready for you to eat.  Even better are the fresh fruit drink stands where they will cut up and juice fresh fruit right in front of you for less than a dollar a cup.  There are all sorts of tropical fruits that you can’t get easily in the states- passion fruit, dragon fruit, lychee, longan, bitter melon (which tastes as bad as the name).  Here are a few of my favorite fruits that I have been enjoying this week:

WAX APPLE

I have fond memories of the wax apple, also called “lambu” in Taiwanese, from my childhood summers spent in Taichung.  Sometimes I will go 10+ years without eating one but I still can never forget the taste of  this yummy bell-shaped fruit:

They are usually a bit redder on the outside when they are in season.  I remember we used to joke that the shape of the fruit reminded us of our mom’s nose.  It’s called a wax apple because of its shiny, waxy exterior but it tastes nothing like an apple.  It’s flesh has a more pear-like consistency and the core part is a loose weave, sort of like cotton candy.  When it’s  ripe, the flesh is light, sweet and crisp:

We were in Thailand last January and I was thrilled to find wax apples there, too! I ate bags and bags of it!

CUSTARD APPLE

Next up is the custard apple which is also called the buddha head fruit, because well, it looks like the top of a buddha’s head!

This fruit is pretty peculiar in looks, taste and texture, its nothing like anything you can find in the US. They are pretty big fruit, about the size of a large grape fruit, so if you eat a whole one, it’s pretty filling.  To eat the custard apple, you peel off the exterior “bumps”.  If they are ripe, they peel off pretty easily.   The inside of the fruit is segmented around large black seeds and you pop each chunk in your mouth, suck off the flesh and spit out the pit. The insides tastes like sweet custard.  Sounds weird, I know, but trust me, its good:

I’m also eating lots of guava, which I know isn’t that exotic. My parents have a few white and pink guava trees in their backyard in southern California.  Out here, they eat the guava sliced and dipped in this plum powder.  It’s so good this way!  The sweet guava paired with the tart plum is a yummy combination.

Also in Taiwan, a lot of the “normal” western fruit seem backwards in color!  These green fruit are actually ripe oranges:

When I was little in Taiwan, I also found it strange that the bananas are red and the watermelon are yellow!

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 geekstitching November 10, 2011 at 9:27 am

Friday Night Lights? Sleeping in? And delicious fruits? Sounds like you’re having a wonderful trip!

Xoxo Kim

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2 Jen November 10, 2011 at 10:26 am

Wow, so cool! That custard apple sounds so good (but it kind of looks like a cauliflower)

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3 Cayla November 10, 2011 at 10:27 am

i’ve never seen anything like these. thanks for sharing! very exotic

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4 xin lei November 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Ahh yes, the lian wu (wax apples) are a favorite of mine whenever visiting Taiwan too! I think my mom may have tried taking one back to the US on the airplane one time…that didn’t go over well :).

You didn’t mention durian (liu lian)…sweet, but STINKY!!! (wink)

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5 Patricia November 11, 2011 at 10:49 am

Awww, I love this post! Custard apple is my FAVORITE. So jealous right now!

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6 cosysoul November 13, 2011 at 9:07 am

I love custard apple too. We have much of the same fruit over in Malaysia (where I’m working for a few months). I’ve been enjoying Taiwanese dessert over here (I just blogged about it here: http://www.cosysoul.wordpress.com) – if you can get hold of the authentic Taiwanese equivalent you should! Enjoy the rest of your trip.

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7 Lady November 19, 2011 at 8:30 am

Long time reader … first comment XD
We have those in the Philippines too (lots in my grandparents backyard)..
only we call Wax apple as “Makopa” and Custard Apple as “Atis”..

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8 natty January 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm

good fv post

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9 Janiya Fields April 24, 2012 at 6:24 am

Appreciate you sharing, great post.Thanks Again. Great.

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10 Steven Crook March 31, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Custard apples are good but Taiwanese mangoes and pineapples are my faves!

Steven Crook
Taiwan: The Bradt Travel Guide

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11 Jeanne Taylor November 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Had the wax apples in May when we were in Taiwan, so sweet and juicy. The fruits of Taiwan are marvellous..So many fifferent kinds. Gauva, Mango, papoaya, wax apple I could go on and on.

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