Mango! Lychee! Papaya! Guava! These are my favorite fruits from Taiwan. Not to mention pineapple (imported, I think), grapes, passion fruit, Asian pear… the list is pretty much endless. I have really strong positive associations with fruit because of my mom. She always has at least two containers of fruit in the fridge, cut-up and ready to eat. Because she almost choked on fruit skin when she was little, she’s always peeled everything, even grapes. As a result, it took me years to get used to eating apples with their skins. When I visit, my mom absolutely spoils me with fruit. Anytime I’m sitting still, out comes the fruit, all cut up, delicious, screaming, “Eat me!” No wonder I was never hungry in Taiwan! Well, at least fruit is healthy. In fact, it made me realize how lazy I usually am about eating fruit; therefore, I’ve resolved to eat more fruit everyday.
One fruit I’ve never had before was the sugar apple, or custard apple as it is known in India, according to MK. On the outside, it looks like a giant, round, pale green pine cone. Inside, it looks very strange, reminiscent of crab lungs. My dad busted one open and offered me some. I stared at it, and immediately reverted to a petulant 6-year-old.
Me (frowning in disgust): What is that?!
Dad: A sugar apple. You’ve never had it before? Try some. It’s good!
Me (still frowning): But… it looks like rotting flesh! Or maybe not, but it does NOT look right.
Dad (laughing at me): Well, it’s up to you, but you should try some. (Puts spoon in front of me.)
Me: I have eat it with a spoon?! Why?! (said with a twinge of whine)
Dad: Cuz it’s easier to scoop it out with a spoon.
Me: That’s WEIRD.
(I pick it up, and smell it.)
Me: Well, it doesn’t smell like rotting flesh…
(I pick up the spoon and take the smallest piece possible, and with enormous trepidation, place it in my mouth.)
Me: Wow. That was good!
Dad: (Laughs. Nods knowingly.)
I proceed to eat about a third of it.
And that, my friends, is how I came to know and love the sugar apple. It’s extremely sweet and the texture is very strange — sort of like a flat lychee with giant seeds. I highly recommend it!