To continue the theme of favorite fruits, I would like talk a little about Pitaya, or dragonfruit. This fruit only blooms at night and has a fiery red outer skin* and either a white or beet-red inner flesh that’s the edible part. While I did find these in the US, in Eatily, NYC and a few Asian markets, they are very rare and not inexpensive (about $7USD each). Here in Asia, similar sized dragonfruits are 5 for $3SGD. Another good example of supply and demand, I guess.
Aside from the interior color, there isn’t much of a difference in flavor among dragonfruits from Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia. They range in size from baseball to softball and are all very easy to peel. The best way to describe the flavor is like a mellow kiwi. At its best, it’s mildly sweet and at its worst, it’s closer to the sweetness of the inner rind of a watermelon (that is to say, blandly sweet).
One of the most interesting things about dragonfruit is that while you don’t see it in many US stores, they’ve been a part of the Native American diet for centuries. It has grown in popularity across Asia and, as I said, can be found in some Asian markets in the US, but I would honestly say it’s a totally American fruit that just never reached the popularity of its other native fruit relatives.
If you get the chance, please try them — they are in season from late June through October in the Northern Hemisphere. A note of caution: the red-flesh dragonfruit will stain everything it comes in contact with, so keep that in mind as you sit down to enjoy.
* I am reading up on a type of dragonfruit that has yellow skin, but I have yet to come across it. The search continues …