As part of his annual Christmas party, my oldest son has to bring something that tastes strange to school, so he wanted to stop at the Asian grocery store.
I’ve done this from time to time, generally when my beautiful wife is hunting something exotic for a recipe, and I have taken to picking up some odd canned fruits to serve with dinner. In the past, I’ve gone as far as canned quail eggs, although I’m pretty sure that I didn’t even try those.
So whilst my son got his crazy soft drinks and candy, I picked out a selection.
- Mango Slices in Syrup
- Bitter Melon in Brine
- Toddy Palm’s Seed Whole in Syrup
- Jackfruit in Syrup
- Longan in Syrup
- Banana Blossoms in Brine
Each night, I alternate between my boys and ask them to pick and apportion the fruit into three bowls (as my wife does not care to participate in this ritual). So we tend to go from the more known to the more frightening-sounding as we go.
True to form, the youngest first picked the mango slices.
Then, last night, my oldest chose the banana blossoms which I thought would be the last selection. After putting them into the bowls, he drank from the can, thinking it contained syrup instead of brine. He pulled a face and spit it out and learned that not all fruit are stored in sweet syrup. Banana blossoms in brine, by the way, taste like bland artichoke hearts.
So now I’m betting the toddy palm seed will be the last. I think the youngest will take the longan tonight, and the jackfruit is a relatively known quality as we’ve had it before.
Lately, the local supermarket has offered fresh jackfruit, but I’m not sure why. I know when I was a produce clerk, something exotic appearing on our racks meant that the warehouse had mispicked the item, sending us sugar canes instead of limes, and they told us not to bother sending it back. So we would put it out since it didn’t cost us anything (we got credit on our invoice for the case of limes that didn’t show up), so any novelty sales to people like what I have become would be pure profit.
But I have not bought a fresh jackfruit yet.