Friday, March 18, 2011

Finding Fruit

We love tropical fruit (who doesn't?). Since we were staying on a tropical island, we thought tropical island = lots of tropical fruits for us to eat.

Surprisingly, that was not the case.

We had fruit smoothies (mango for me, papaya for the husband) when we went for lunch in Old San Juan on the first day. There were sad pieces of fruit in the buffet at our hotel for breakfast that looked like they'd been flown to the US, then flown back, and then that was it - all the other food stops we made had no fresh fruit of any kind. The only fruit options we saw were shacks or carts on the sides of the road, but we didn't stop since our Spanish is weak at best.

On our last day, we decided to head over to a central mercado in search of fruit. We went to the same market that Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods on the Travel Channel was filmed at, but we went at 9am on a Monday so it was deserted. There was a good sample of fruit to be found, but we didn't recognize most of them.

Left: Unidentifiable fruits (mostly papaya, maybe some guava - I think...)
Right: Mini-bananas
There wasn't just fruit for sale in this market - there's veggies in there too, along with meat and fish stores along the perimeter. The interesting thing about the market is that a lot of produce out for sale wasn't perfect - I just happened to take pictures of the pretty stuff. There were boxes of citrus fruits (oranges? tangerines? dunno) with mostly green/brown mottled skin that would never be found in North American supermarkets, even though I'm sure they're prefectly good to eat.
The one thing we quickly discovered is that our fruit options were pretty limited without a sharp knife of any size - we weren't quite prepared to start tearing a papaya apart with our hands, so we settled on a bunch of mini-bananas. Oh, and one of those giant avocados made it home with us. We figured we'd bring back at least one edible souvenir from our trip.

2 comments:

Angustia said...

Oh my! Delicious!

Have you tried any of the following:

Anon
Nisperos
Zapote/Mamey
Guanabanas
mamoncillos
Ciruelas (these are sometimes sold frozen in hispanic markets in the area)still enjoyable when thawed.

Anyways, there is an immensity of tropical fruits and I love them all.
Sorry don't have the English translations for any of these. Different growing seasons of course, so one would have to travel accordingly to catch them as they're coming off the trees.


Mailin

PharmaFoodie said...

Hi Mailin! The only one I recognize is guanabana, but that was a long long time ago. It's likely that I've tried the rest of the fruit, but I'd need to see it to remember since I never know what the name is of some of the exotic fruit.

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