Monday, October 13, 2008

Tasting the dragon

…well not exactly the mythical beast but the fruit.

I’ve learned about this exotic fruit three years ago when one of our writers was assigned to write about the promising industry of dragonfruit. One of our partner agencies used to bring boxes of dragonfruit in the office for us to taste but I just ignored them. I got intimidated by this strange-looking fruit. It's large and err...too pink!?

Dragonfruit is currently the leading fruit export of Vietnam. When I visited Ho Chi Minh City late last year, one of the villages that we visited in Cai Bai also served us slices of dragonfruit along with other exotic fruits. Foreigners were amazed by the dragonfruit as it was their first time to see it.

Some weeks ago, we visited an experimental station in Manambulan, Davao City and I encountered these amazing fruits again. This time, I saw a whole production of them. I had a nice chat with the fella who was assigned in the production area and he made me realized how interesting this fruit really is. He explained to me the story of he got into the production--from acquiring the planting materials to its marketing aspect.

fruits of the dragon :-)

Dragonfruits are distinct in their vibrant color and size.

Dragonfruit is an amazing fruit. It picks great interest for the inquisitive-type especially with its vibrant color, size and unusual appearance. This fruit is also known as “Strawberry Pear” but locally it’s known as “Pitaya” or "Pithaya".

from the Cactus Family

It comes from the family of cactus.

Dragonfruit comes from the Cactaceae family. It has various varieties but the most common is the Hylocereus undatus with its bright pink skin and large scales in the outside and white flesh and dark seeds inside. The flesh differs in color i.e. red, magenta depending on the variety.

slicing some fruits

We sampled a freshly picked dragonfruit.

It tastes like kiwi with all the seeds which are pretty much chewable and crunchy. The variety that Manambulan Station is growing is sweet and delicious. After a few slices, I found myself craving for more. I ate two. The fruit is better serve when chilled.

the seedy fruit

The Hylocereus undatus variety has white, soft flesh and numerous black seeds.

Dragonfruits are native to Central and Southern America but are now being widely cultivated in Southeast Asia including the Philippines, particularly in Cavite and Southern Mindanao. This fruit is packed with fiber, Vitamic C, and minerals. It has antioxidant properties too.

dragon fruits

We loaded some more fruits in the truck.
After going around the area and filling our stomachs with its sweet flesh, we harvested more dragonfruits and put them at the back of the truck for our deserts.



Sidney said...

That is quite an interesting looking fruit... never saw one...look like some flower bulb.

Do you know the price of this fruit? Do they sell it in Manila?

my gulch said...

hi Sidney,
In the wet market, i think a piece of dragonfruit costs about 85-95 pesos. In the groceries, you can buy a kilo for 180-200 pesos, it depends on the size of the fruits. I saw some in the Market!Market! don't buy if its over ripe already as you won't appreciate the taste.

the donG said...

bago to ah. never saw one before. this is a special post. i want to try one. hope i can find this in manila.

salamat sa info at background kasi bago pa talaga ito sa akin.

Photo Cache said...

thanks for the information. i have only seen this in malaysia and singapore and have tasted it in malaysia. sadly i didn't like it. it's very appealing outside and even when sliced but somehow i have no taste for it, more's the pity i thought.

pieterbie said...

I've never tasted this. But I'd like to. Very interesting!

my gulch said...

hi dong, you should try this. it's an acquired taste i guess, it will all depends on the first fruit you pick. i hope you get the sweet one. they say that this fruit is also good for detoxing.

photo cache: i totally understand the reaction. it always comes down to one's preference. i've never tasted durian but i never liked it because of the smell. dragonfruit compared to durian is 100times subtle i think.

peter: dragonfruit is a bit expensive in Europe i believe i don't even know if you have it there in Belgium but i guess it can be found.

Ferdz said...

I remember eating this at our Halong Bay Cruise as well. And we recently saw some of these being sold at some fruit stands in Ongpin. :D Taste good too. It has a kiwi texture in it.

my gulch said...

Hi Ferdz!
i am glad you like it. you know the saying, "chocolates get sweeter the second time around"? it's true. hehe. you should try it again. availability becomes a problem for this exotic fruit but if you chance upon it, buy some.

kyels said...

I love dragonfruit pero they are expensive here. Well, I prefer the one w/purplish flesh though b/c they seem to be sweeter.


my gulch said...

hi kyels!
yea, i reckon that. in fact some people think it's too expensive for what it's worth. but this fruit is rare and quite hard to find in the neighborhood. i haven't tasted any of the other varieties. i wish i could because i am really starting to like this fruit.

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