What’s a loquat?

6 May

Any guesses?  Here’s a few…

A. Chinese car

B. The tail of a wild chicken

C. Yellow plum like fruit

I actually learned the Chinese word for loquat before I learned the English word – the Chinese word is 批把 (PEE BA).  They are the plumlike fruit of an evergreen tree which is indigenous to southeastern China.  When I first saw them, I thought that they were strangely oblong apricots.  Last year I bought a few at my local fruit stand, but they weren’t apricots – there are three to four large pits in the middle and the taste is different as well.

When I was in Tengchong, my colleagues bought fruit every day and they purchased a lot of loquats at one fruit stand.  It turns out that the home of loquats is Yunnan province – there were even a few in my pictures of fruit at the Kunming airport if you look closely.

Unfortunately my coworkers must not have the best sense for how to purchase ripe loquats as the ones that they purchased, while beautiful to look at were very, very sour – so sour that my mouth puckered.  Let’s just say that at that point I was not a loquat fan – but perhaps that was the point as many of them also like those very sour plum candies that I don’t particularly like either.  However, when I came back to Shanghai the next week I noticed that loquats were everywhere!  Fresh food in season.  I bought a small basket that my local fruit lady assured me were ripe – and they were!  Much better – not as pretty, a few black spots, but much sweeter and very pleasant.

Li helped me take a photo of the loquats that I brought home – that passed the taste test.  They are about the size of a fat thumb. Maybe I’ll buy some more!

Have you ever eaten a loquat?  Do you have any food that you had to give a second (or third) chance before you liked/appreciated it?


2 Responses to “What’s a loquat?”

  1. texanaskitchen May 6, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    I love loquats. They grow all over Texas too, and I can’t wait until spring each year to gorge on them….They make great jelly, wine, and tarts, too.

    • gkm2011 May 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      I had no idea that they were in Texas as well. I can understand why they have a cult following – now that I’ve had them ripe! Thanks for the comment.

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