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Ultra Exotic Fruit Tasting

Intrigue your taste buds with some of Hawaii’s most unique flavors this Saturday. The free culinary demonstration happens at Kahala Mall’s Whole Foods and features local growers and chefs. The list of not-so-well-known edibles include ulu, mangosteen, lychee, tamarillo, durian, surinam, jackfruit and white spate.

(Top) Black surinam and ulu (bottom) will be among the line-up of rare fruit this weekend.

Ulu, more commonly known as breadfruit, was one of the few subsistence plants brought to the Hawaiian Islands. Polynesians used the trunk to make surfboards, drums, poi boards and canoe parts. Its young bud was used medicinally as a throat and mouth remedy, while the white sticky sap was often used to catch native birds for their colorful feathers. Today, the most common use of ulu would be to fill hungry bellies. My uncle used to bake us ulu pie, which has a similar consistency to pumpkin pie but not as sweet. Most people usually boil it like a potato, but while you’re in Hawaii, you’ll most likely find it incorporated into various restaurant dishes.

When you hear about the fruit called mangosteen, you might instantly think mango. But it’s nothing like a mango nor does it taste like one. Mangosteen is a round, purple fruit about the size of a tennis ball that’s native to Malaysia. While difficult to grow, Hawaii farmers have been trying their luck lately. I’m so glad they did! Mangosteen is delicious and has become one of those rare island fruits. It tastes sweet but has a subtle hint of sour and ranges in flavor from strawberry, peach to vanilla.

This is a jackfruit that’s ready to eat. They’re usually prepared in stews.

Are you convinced to check out this exotic fruit event yet? I really want to try a jackfruit if I make it over there. I’ve heard it tastes similar to bananas, with the same yellowish pulp consistency. Now, that’s sure to confuse my taste buds!

ULTRA-EXOTIC FRUIT TASTING • Saturday, May 19, 2012 1-3pm • Kahala Mall 4211 Waiale Ave., Honolulu, HI 96816 • Free parking; near bus route

Photo Credit: Ken Love

Posted by: Bruce Fisher on May 18, 2012