Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Product Review: pitaya

The pitaya is usually sold at the grocery store under the more exotic name dragon fruit. Indeed, the name for this fruit in most Eastern languages incorporates the word dragon in some way or another.[1] This fruit is native to Central and South America and grows on a cactus. However, they're so popular that the cultivated variety (Hylocereus undatus) is now grown commercially in Hawaii, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. You will often see them touted for their health benefits.[2]

The pitaya has a rather exotic appearance but reserves a few punches. The first comes when you cut it open. The inside looks like a white poppy-seed dressing (except that the seeds look more like kiwifruit [3] seeds than like poppy seeds), which is in stark contrast to the bright exterior.[4] The second punch comes when you taste the flesh (which is soft enough to carve out with a spoon). It's very, very mild. I thought it was a little like kiwifruit, but watered down. I liked the flavor and would definitely eat these again. But they're a little expensive.


[1] See

[2] e.g.

[3] Kiwifruit was originally named Chinese gooseberry because they're native to south China. It didn't get its current name until it was introduced to New Zealand. When Turner and Growers tried to sell their product into the U.S., the importer felt that the name was unsuitable. So Turner decided to call them kiwifruit. He didn't secure an international trademark, though, so now everyone calls them kiwifruit, regardless of which company they buy them from. (Or company, for that matter—the largest exporter of kiwifruit is Italy.) See

[4] There are varieties with pink, red, or purple interiors, but I tried the white-interior variety. There is also a variety with a yellow exterior.

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