One of my favourite things about living in Queensland how we have access to such a huge variety of fruits, throughout so much of the year – as lovely as fruit bowl favourite such as bananas, apples and oranges are, I don’t think we take enough advantage of the massive range of tropical delicacies available. There’s so much range past the standard tropical favourites mangoes and lychees.
This is slightly embarrassing to admit but I only tried cumquats for the first time last week – my friend gave me an enormous bag from their farm. A quick google search revealed you could eat them whole – probably the best way actually, as the skin has a wonderful sweetness that offsets the super tart, sour juicy centre.
I tried to convince my housemates to try them – none of them had ever seen a cumquat before and they thought I was having them on about eating the rind. Mark tried one and described it as being like ‘little sour candies’. They’re slightly addictive and all my plans for jams and marmalade when out the window as we demolished half the bag between us.
As we get older, it’s rare to encounter tastes that are totally new to us – flavours become familiar and while we keep trying different combinations of foods, you generally will have an idea of how something is going to taste before it hits your tongue. For me, trying new, raw flavours for the first time is so exciting. It’s kind of like being a kid again. Tropical fruits are the best because they often have very distinctive tastes and strong, punchy flavours.
Mangosteen is known as the ‘Queen of Fruit’ in South East Asian countries, it’s available at most major supermarkets and remains one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten – yet 4/5 people in my random office survey didn’t know what it was.
Feijoa is another great fruit to try– the flavour is very unique and can be eaten just like a kiwi fruit. There’s an argument to try dragon fruit based on appearance alone - anything that’s hot pink with green spikes has to be worth a try. Persimmons, pomegranate, custard apple, soursop and bitter melon are all well worth trying and if you’re feeling brave enough – venture forth to the king of all fruits – durian. Just beware it’s known for being epically stinky, so much so that it’s banned from most hostels and hotels in South East Asia.
How often is it when trying something new that we ask ‘what does it taste like?’ – you want to know the flavour before it goes in your mouth. It’s bizarre how strong our natural aversion is to taking a gamble on a flavour we may not like. But that one little patch of unfamiliar territory is definitely worth braving in order to broaden your culinary horizons.