While walking around Chinatown, have you ever stopped and looked at the fresh fruit stands and wondered what some of them were and what they tasted like? New York City’s Chinatown boasts an abundant amount of fruit stands and markets where you will be sure to come across some unusual and exotic fruits. If you haven’t tried any of these before… you must! Here is our list of the unique and exotic Asian fruits that you can find in Chinatown.
The lychee is a sweet and juicy fruit which tastes similar to a cross between a pear and a grape. It is used in many Chinese treats and desserts but of course they are best eaten fresh! The lychee is probably the most popular Chinese fruit.
The longan which means dragon eye is also best eaten fresh. It is sometimes mistaken for the lychee. The lychee is reddish color on its outside while the longan has a brownish color on its outside. Compared to the lychee, the longan has a more of a tart flavor and it is less messy.
Rambutans are closely related to the lychees and longans and in fact when taken out its shell all three look quite similar. While the rambutan has a red, hairy look on the outside it is quite delicious with a rich, creamy taste. Don’t judge a book by its cover!
The jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world. It has a starchy and fibrous texture and it tastes like a cross between apples, mangoes, pineapples and bananas. In fact, some say it tastes similar to the juicy fruit gum. It is often sold already sliced as the texture is quite sticky so typically the merchants do work for you.
Mangoes are probably the least “exotic” fruit on this list but mangoes are a popular fruit in Chinatown and they are also used in a lot of Chinese treats and desserts. The peak season of the most common mangoes for sale is the spring and summer months so there is no better time to try some than now (if you haven’t already).
The most commonly found persimmon is heart shaped and it looks similar to a tomato. The persimmon has a sweet yet delicate flavor that has an almost mushy texture when it is in its peak ripeness.
The durian is infamous for its unique smell, taste and texture. It is hard to describe but it is definitely an acquired taste and it is actually a popular snack in many South East Asian countries. If you are an adventurous eater, we recommend trying some. It would certainly be memorable.
Dragon fruit aka the “Chinese kiwi” looks unlike any fruit that you typically see in supermarkets. It has a bright pink color on the outside and it has a milky white inside with edible tiny black seeds. At first glance, it doesn’t look sweet but a good dragon fruit can definitely be very sweet and tastes similar to a cross between a kiwi and a pear.