One thing that becomes apparent, traveling in Taiwan, is the abundance of fruit (水果 / shui guo). From sprawling produce markets to fruit teas stalls (especially in Taipei) the sweet smell of fresh fruit was everywhere. It’s no surprise that Taiwan has been referred to as the “Fruit Kingdom.”
As someone who loves fruit, I wanted to try Taiwanese fruit and see how they compared to many of those in the United States. As I try more fruit, I’ll expand on this list.
Pineapple (鳳梨 / feng li)
I tried a couple of varieties in different shapes and sizes of pineapple. Overall, pineapples taste sweeter and more tart at the same time. They also smell more floral and are often more pale.
For some reason, they cut the top off of this one, revealing four crowns.
Banana (香蕉 / xiang jiao)
Bananas are about the same in flavor though straighter. They lack the peculiar curvature that typifies Cavendish bananas.
Strawberry (草莓 / cao mei)
Strawberries are sweeter and smaller. The ones I tried were referred to as mountain strawberries.
Lychee (荔枝 / li zhi)
The lychee’s I tried were more meaty than ones that I’ve had in Chinese super markets in California. They’re not as sweet though.
Mango (芒果 / mang guo)
Mangos are creamier and sweeter. The ones I tried had no piney taste. I also noted hints of bamboo, oddly enough.
Watermelon (西瓜 / xi gua)
Watermelons can be smaller than many of the personal-sized varieties found state-side. These smaller watermelons are often yellow on the inside. Yellow watermelons are a little sour in the beginning with a nice sweetness at the end.
Other watermelons are large and more pale on the outside. Many of these come from the eastern part of the island in Hualien (花蓮 / hua lian). They have pink flesh on the inside and are generally pretty sweet. Many of the night markets had fresh watermelon juice from Hualien available during the summer.
Papaya (木瓜 / mu gua)
A staple of night markets all around, blended with fresh milk. Papayas are a little smaller than the ones found in the US. Though I had them in the form of papaya milk most of the time, when I did eat them fresh, they were soft and sweet.
What’s your experience with fruit abroad?