Colombian Fruit Review: Week 231

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Tomate de arbol, uchuva, curuba, papayuela, granadilla, pitahaya, maracuya, feijoa, guyaba, zapote

Colombia’s overwhelming preference for meat is the reason I was surprised to discover vegetarian and even vegan restaurants in Manizales. Barret and I tried two different places over the same weekend- Rushi and Laurel. Both had a menu of the day, which included soup, a main dish, a small dessert, and a drink.

While the lack of meat is obviously what distinguishes vegetarian restaurants from traditional Colombian restaurants, there are a few things they share in common. Even at traditional restaurants, soups are often vegetable-based and the beverages are almost always fruit juices. I kind of find it amusing that someone eating a slab of beef might also be sipping strawberry juice.

There is such a great variety of fruit in Colombia and the majority of it is offered as a juice. I feel like I should be writing more about the vegetarian restaurants, but it is the fruit that gets me so excited. So instead, here is a sample of the exotic fruit that Colombia has to offer (starting clockwise with the red tomate de árbol above).

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Tamarillo, sliced

Tomate del árbol- This fruit is sweet but also has the tang of a tomato. Most of the time this is available as a juice, but I personally enjoy eating it raw- just scoop out the center, seeds and all.

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Uchuva, sliced

Uchuva – These are also known as cape gooseberries. They have a strong and slighty tart flavor and are very slippery once they’ve been washed. I’ve only ever seen them in people’s gardens, so Colombia is the first place I’ve noticed them commercially for sale. Lucky me!

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Curuba, sliced

Curuba – It is also known as the banana passion fruit because of its fuzzy, yellow exterior. Unfortunately though, it its raw state it tastes like the boring cousin of a passion fruit and the seeds are very hard. On the other hand, I have been assured that it makes for a delicious juice when blended with milk.

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Papayuela, sliced

Papayuela – There’s a reason why the guy at the grocery store did not remember the name of this fruit. It is a small variety of papaya with all the seeds and hardly anything edible. It’s the jungle equivalent to eating sunflower seeds in the shell, except a lot less satisfying. Next time I’ll get a regular papaya.

Tropical fruit in Colombia, Granadilla, sliced

Granadilla – The rind of the granadilla is kind of like crème brulee. The shell is easy to crack with a fingernail while the lining inside is soft and spongy. The Granadilla’s seeds are similar to those of a passion fruit in terms of texture, however they are not tart at all. This fruit is refreshing- like flavored water.

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Pitahaya, sliced

Pitahaya – The center of the fruit has the texture of a kiwi and a taste that’s just as delicate. I’m pretty sure I’ve bought the Asian variety of this fruit, but I don’t remember it tasting nearly as juicy as the pitahaya.

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Maracuya, sliced

Maracuya- This one tricked me a bit because it is passion fruit, but it doesn’t look like the purple ones I am used to. It is very tart and best juiced or on top of something like plain yogurt.

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Feijoa, sliced

Feijoa – These South American fruits also happen to grow very successfully in New Zealand. In Colombia they are most often found in juices, but I love them raw. The scent is what stands out most about them- they smell like a soda bottle full of Sprite.

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Guyaba, sliced

Guyaba – In its raw state, the fruit is firm and the seeds are numerous and quite hard. That is the reason that guyaba is most often made into pastes or sugary cubes called bocadillo. I would have to agree that is the best use for this fruit. Bocadillo and a slice of salty campesino cheese are absolutely delicious.

Tropical fruit in Colombia: Zapote, peeled

Zapote – The dark exterior is rough and kind of looks like an acorn, but the edible part is pumpkin-orange. There are five large seeds that are cushioned by a sweet flesh that has the texture of a ripe mango. The flavor was sweet and one description that came to Barret’s mind was maple syrup.

Although this feels like a good list, there is still so much more to discover at the supermarket!

How to get to Rushi: Kra 23C 62-73, Manizales

How to get to Laurel: Calle 56, near the intersection of Calle 56 and Carrera 23

Eveleigh Markets – Week 126

Billy Kwong food cart at the Eveleigh Markets: Sydney, Australia

“I chose the wallaby tail for you,” Barret said with a mischievous look. “It was either that or the rice cake with macadamia nuts and crushed crickets.”

“Wow, ok. What are you trying?”

“The steamed pork bun.”

I think Barret missed the point.

For the last few years Chef Kylie Kwong has been introducing restaurant-goers to sustainable, quality food- the kind that’s locally sourced and underutilized. Her menu includes native plants like Coorong bower spinach, warrigal greens and quandongs alongside Chinese staples like dumplings and silken tofu. She also sources carbon-neutral meat like wallaby, which is raised using 70-90% less water than sheep or cows.

No matter what you order at Kylie Kwong’s weekend food cart (named Billy Kwong), you are bound to get something delicious. Although, the same could be said for everything else sold Saturday morning at the Eveleigh Markets.

The moustachioed purveyor of buffalo milk gelato at the Eveleigh Markets: Sydney, Australia

The award-winning produce market somehow made shopping for parsley and cauliflower cool. In need of Portobello mushrooms? Go talk to the hip young Aussies who looked they had just docked their sailboat to rescue an injured puppy on the wharf. Looking for a sweet treat? Try the moustachioed purveyor of buffalo milk gelato.

Flowers for sale at the Eveleigh Markets: Sydney, Australia

Even the freshly cut flowers on sale were a unique mix of floral arrangement staples and distinctly Australian offerings. I particularly loved the velvety red stalk of the kangaroo paw.

When our grocery bags were completely full, the four of us headed to the onsite café. Cornerstone was a bright, airy corner of an old brick railway workshop built in the late 1800s. The massive structure not only housed the café but also multiple art venues. If that doesn’t sound appetizing enough, I can personally vouch for the tastiness of the flat whites and the comfortable leather couches. Just don’t ask me if they use organic milk.

Cornerstone Cafe inside the Carriageworks building: Sydney, Australia

How to get to the Eveleigh Markets & Cornerstone: 243 Wilson St, Darlington NSW 2008 (near Redfern Station). Markets are open every Saturday from 8am to 1pm.

About: Kylie Kwong

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