Singapore Adventure

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Fruits of Paradise II
by venitha

Every time we see fruit for sale somewhere, be it at a new grocery store or from a vendor on the street, there seems to be something new that we haven't yet explored. I'm starting to wonder how long this can continue. Here's the latest.

  • Guava. Looks like a large, ugly, lumpy, light green apple, and, like an apple, it's white inside. Surprising, no? Shouldn't it be, well, pink? Apparently that's a different variety. And, thanks to modern science, there is also a seedless variety. Its taste is a cross between an apple and a pear, very dry and light. I liked it; Jim thought it was bland. When we told Bin Chin we had tried one, he insisted that it must always be eaten chopped into chunks and mixed with plum powder. We tracked down some plum powder (contents: plums, sugar, salt), and it was pretty tasty this way, like an uncooked apple crisp without the crisp. It still, however, wasn't pink.

  • Cherry Apple. Very very cute, but, disappointingly, just a really small apple, about the size of a golf ball. The Granny Smith apple in the picture next to it is even on the small side. Funny how you expect it to be REALLY sour, like a crabapple, but it's not.

  • Chikku. A rock-hard brown oval. Our kitchen isn't stocked with a machete, so I figured I'd let it ripen for a while. After a couple of days on the counter produced no change, I put it in the fridge. It's so humid here that leaving anything perishable out for long seems like a very bad idea. After a couple of days in the fridge produced no change, I asked Bin Chin about chikkus, and he informed me that the best way to ripen them was to nest them down in your rice bin. Well, I don't have a rice bin, but this does explain why humidity and cold weren't producing the desired result.

    When we finally ate the chikku, it was pretty disappointing. Sort of like a pear in texture, but cloyingly sweet and with a weird bitter texture that leaves your mouth dry. Neither of us liked it much, though it may be worth trying again in the hopes that I just ruined it with inadequate ripening stimulation. Truly, the best part of it is that its name has Jim endlessly saying "chicka chickahhh" like in that song from the movie The Secret of My Success. If you don't already know what I'm talking about and you like having inane songs from the 80s stuck in your head, click here and listen to a sample of Yello's "Oh Yeah".

  • Pear Apple. Shaped like an apple, but otherwise like a pear. A crispy, sweet, juicy, brown-skinned pear. There are also pear-shaped apples, which we tried back in January and were unimpressed with.

Next up: the dreaded durian! An admitted durian freak who Jim works with is taking us out tomorrow after work to a good place for durian. I'm just scared that he's actually going to expect us to try it!