5.16.11 Enter the Dragon Fruit

Dragonfruit 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife
G and I are homeward bound! We're getting on a plane tomorrow night, first class on Singapore Air! We're so ready. It's been a strange interlude, living in a hotel in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, watching my husband drift in and out of a morphine haze. I can't say I'll miss the room service food, but I will miss stumbling across exotic ingredients everywhere I go. Like this striking dragon fruit. We drove through a big grove of the cactus-like trees—almost like snakey Medusa heads—that produce this fantastical fruit and couldn't resist stopping at a roadside stand to buy one. According to the New York Times, here, the dragon fruit is having a bit of a moment, increasingly showing up on the menus of renowned chefs at groovy restaurants.
Dragonfruit tree 790 xxx
the dragon fruit cactus looks like a 60s hairdo
Dragon fruit will sprout only when their big, fragrant white blooms are properly pollinated. This can only happen after the sun goes down as the flowers are extraordinarily delicate. Bats and moths normally take care of the pollination duties, but in the US, where Southern California farmers have begun to grow the fruit, it is done by hand.
Dragonfruit on scale 790 xxx
dragonfruit on a roadside scale
Paradoxically, for all its exotic looks, the dragon fruit doesn't taste like much. Full of tiny black seeds, it is like a slightly more watery kiwi, though lacking any of the sweetness or tang. It has a very pleasing mouthfeel and is extremely refreshing but the taste is really quite neutral. I can't understand what these chefs think it's bringing to the party.
Sliced dragonfruit 790 xxx
some are white on the inside, but ours was this intense fuchsia
From the color alone, it's safe to assume the dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, is high in antioxidants. And it's watery texture means it's very low in calories. I could see serving it ice cold as a palate cleanser during a rich, spicy meal.
Dragonfruit on plate 790 xxx
it sure made for a beautiful breakfast
The next time you hear from me, I will be back on home turf.


Safe travels! Glad G is better; I've enjoyed the exotica, thanks...
Gauk on May 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm —
¡Feliz viaje! Let us know when you're home safe and sound! I think Dragon Fruit must be related to pitahaya. In Central America, pitahaya isused to make a yummy agua fresca.
~Sari on May 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm —
Yes, it's the same thing--also comes in a white version. Does it have a particular flavor--or do they just add lime and sugar to give it some sabor?
laura on May 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm —
Funny, I've never seen a dragon fruit that's red inside, they've always been white! The outsides were identical though and I agree with you're discription of the flavor. Bland Kiwis. Have a safe trip home.
alwayshungry on May 17, 2011 at 3:12 am —
Thanks, Sarah! I guess the ones with the red interior are less common, but they don't taste any more special...
laura on May 17, 2011 at 3:28 am —
I will be glad to know you are home. Just getting from NYC to home can be a difficulty. Hug George for us and maybe that'll be like a kiss on the sore--he'll get well.
Vivian on May 17, 2011 at 8:23 am —
Thanks, Vivian! It's been quite the odyssey, but we're almost home. (Currently in the Frankfurt airport waiting for a flight to NY!) I'll pass your hug along to George...
laura on May 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm —