How could you not be curious about a fruit that looks like a blowfish mated with a Venus fly trap? The dragonfruit, also called the pitaya or strawberry pear, is one of those strange-looking things you see in a market and just have to try. I had forgotten about eating these in abudance as a child in Guangzhou until I spent a lot of time last year in Zhongshan. There, dragonfruit is sold at almost every supermarket and served as dessert at many higher-end restaurants.
Dragonfruit is also happily consumed in Vietnam, Malaysia, and many other sub-tropical places. They liven up your grocery bag like nothing else, a bright spindly fucshia thing amidst a sea of cardboard boxes and plastic cartons. The flesh of the fruit, dotted with little seeds, looks and tastes a bit like kiwi. Some people think dragonfruit tastes a bit bland, but that may depend on where you buy them. (There are bland and tasty versions of every kind of fruit.) Dragonfruit with the pink flesh tend be sweeter than the ones with white flesh. But I’ve also had sweet versions of the latter, like this one sent all the way up to a supermarket in Beijing.
You can find dragonfruit jams and wine, and (according to 5 seconds of Googling recipes) use them in homemade salsas or even mooncakes. But I’m a purist. My favorite way of consuming of dragonfruit is diced up in a fruit salad, perhaps with clementine slices and grapes. Or simply cut the whole fruit in half and eat it one delicious scoop at a time. I may try out the salsa recipe at a later date though.