I consider myself to be a fairly adventurous eater within my normal boundaries. I’ve got no interest in offal or other ‘fun’ parts of snout-to-tail eating, but that’s entirely because I’m not a big eater of the more standard parts of our meat animals. But give me a new cheese or fruit or vegetable or starch, and I’m totally game.
Downtown Flushing is a great place to spread one’s wings in any direction, animal, vegetable, or mineral. Mostly it’s because they’ve got a very wide variety of stuffs that aren’t familiar to Western palates, almost none of it labeled in English.
For vegetables, my usual method of post-purchase identification is to pull out Bruce Cost’s book and flip the pages until I find a picture that matches what’s on the counter. For fruits, however, the search can be a little harder and, occasionally, impossible.
In other words, I have no idea what these are:
They look like pears, but there is nothing pear-like about them. They feel like a succulent almost, like they’d be the fruit of some kind of cactus. But they come from something leafy – the pile at the market had a few attached to stems with long green leaves.
Tastewise, they’re pretty mild with a little bit of muskiness and sourness. Of course, I don’t know if you’re supposed to eat them raw or if they’re incredibly underripe. I tried half of one raw and the other half I steamed along with some greens.
The register receipt called these kamtai, but Google gives me nothing related to food on that front,
so I’m still not sure.
So the story goes like this: Pal S took one look at that picture and went “oh! Jamrul! We got that in Calcutta!” and from there, the mystery rapidly came to a successful conclusion.
The rest of my mystery pile was a little more straightforward:
These are both gaya melons. Or, at least, they were both labeled as gaya melons on the grower’s sticker.
They might both be gaya melons, since this is clearly not some mutant cantaloupe nor is it the right color to be an Israeli melon. (Although what an Israeli melon would be doing in a Chinese market anyway is beyond me.) Very sweet and tasty, like a honeydew.
The groceries by work also have interesting fruits on occasion, but I’m as likely to pick up a new cheese there as anything else.
This is called buenalba, which is a raw sheep’s milk cheese. It’s purple because the rind’s been washed with merlot. It’s tasty, although I don’t think it’s a life-changing cheese. It’s certainly a striking element for a cheese plate.
And thus concludes this week’s investigation into the weird stuff in my fridge.