Red Dragonfruit

Now that I’m in Thailand, I’m eating fruit for breakfast every day. Many of these fruits are unique to Southeast Asia and other tropical climates so I thought it might be interesting to blog about such lesser-known fruits.
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Let’s start with my first choice for breakfast: dragonfruit.
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Dragonfruit is one of the most beautiful fruits I have ever seen. Just look at the pink and green skin with its scale-like protuberances (and wait till you cut it open!). It is a heavy, juicy fruit shaped like a mini nerf football. Its skin peels off easily with no need for a knife, which makes it easy to eat on the go but I’ve cut it open here so you can see the gorgeous, speckled interior. Dragonfruit comes in two common varieties, white and red. The white, though visually stunning, is not particularly flavorful.  It is most notable for its crisp and juicy texture and crunchy little black seeds—almost like a bland kiwi. A squirt of lime juice will liven it up, though. Here’s a tip I discovered when I was staying in Mui Ne, Vietnam (the epicenter of all things dragonfruit): pop the white dragonfruit in the fridge and eat it cold for a refreshing treat that will cut through a hot sticky climate.
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The red dragonfruit, in contrast, has a sweeter, more concentrated flavor. It is as juicy as the white dragonfruit, but is more perfumed, with a pure and mild sweetness uncut by any tartness. Like beets, it stains your hands red when you eat it, and be warned, it will color your, um, output (?) as well. I had a few apprehensive moments until I figured this out :)
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See how easily the peel separates from the fruit?
I’ve read that some people are trying to cultivate the dragonfruit more widely, but there are some inherent difficulties with this. The dragonfruit is a night-blooming cactus which is pollinated by a type of bat native to South and Central America as well as Southeast Asia but cannot be found in many other places. So if you see a dragonfruit in the U.S. or in Europe it will likely be very expensive as it’s either been shipped a long way or hand-pollinated in a boutique orchard. Therefore, I would recommend giving it a pass unless you’re desperate to try it.

1 comment:

  1. ramblings:
    thanks for your post.
    didn't know about peeling it. easy.
    bought one at international market. cost about $3. it was okay. expected more taste because it looks so beautiful. could be that it lost taste traveling so far.
    not sure if i could eat a bunch at one time. should be good in mixed fruit salad but would turn everything red.
    bet there is some good medicinal value.