Exotic and filled with health-giving properties, we've tasted several of these funny fruits on our travels, but some of these strange specimens we've never stumbled across until now.
New Zealand friends, what say you? Just where have you been hiding these grape-sized, antioxidant-filled balls of juicy, sweet pleasure? It's cruel you've only just decided to share the little wonders with Hong Kong. They have all the best attributes of the kiwi fruit without the hairy brown skin. Just one little kiwi berry is equal to twice the vitamin C content of a whole orange. Our new go-to desk snack – from the months of February to April – found at Market Place by Jasons, Oliver's, Wellcome and Aeon supermarkets (if you're lucky to be in store when a shipment arrives as these will likely hop off the shelves and into our fridges).
No, not the American cinema candy – this is the original fruit by the name jujube, also referred to as the Chinese red date. Prized in China, where they have been crafted into medicine for over 4,000 years, the nutrient, vitamin, fibre and mineral content make these sweet, plum-sized drupes a great, healthful fruit to include in your tote bag from the wet market. They have a creamy flesh and are a soft green colour when young, then turn to reddish brown when fully mature, with a wrinkled exterior and sticky inner pulp.
Photo credit: Franco Folini
The name means 'hairy', and the picture shows you why. These sweet little furballs contain even more sugar than the super-nectarous lychee, if you can imagine. Bursting with vitamin C and iron, they can be found throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, Southeast Asia – and at the bottom of our engorged bellies.
Photo credit: Frank Fox
What's that, you say? You probably know it by its more obvious name: star fruit. This one is fairly common in Asia but rarely seen in other parts of the world. It's worth noting because of its unique symmetrical shape. Like how a child might draw an invented fruit, this one comes with a pretty shape built in – no need to carve it into a rose or a heart; this one's camera ready upon first slicing. It's also a very low-calorie exotic fruit – much more so than its tropical cousins – as well as a decent source of vitamin C, B-complex vitamins and fibre. The waxy exterior gives way to a crispy flesh with a sour edge, so the crunchy texture and sweet-yet-sour taste make it an excellent food for snacking.
Photo credit: Vegan Feast Catering
Also known as wolfberries, these raisin-like oblongs symbolise longevity of life in Chinese legend. Ningxia province in north-western China is where the most heralded goji berries hail, and they are frequently used to treat a variety of ailments in traditional Chinese medicine. Brimming with an impressive list of essential nutrients, these precious berries claim to benefit everything in the body from eyesight, bones and teeth to inflammation and age-related issues. The dried variety provides quite the taste experience, with everything from bitter, tart and slightly sweet present in just one bite.
Photo credit: miheco
Yes, it does look like something that is probably going to eat you rather than the other way round. It's not something you would want to find under your bed (although it does give us an idea for our next food-based prank). Alienesque, it doesn't really matter how you position it in your fruit bowl – pretty it ain't. What it is, however, is a lemon-like citrus fruit with an interior flesh that is inedible. Instead this ugly citron is used for its powerfully aromatic oily rind that adds a bitter and sweet flavour to dishes. Rich in vitamin C, calcium and fibre, try this one to add some extra zing to that cup of Earl Grey (if you're brave enough to encounter it first thing in the am).
Photo credit: leesean