Exotic Fruits in Mandarin Chinese

peckishlaowai Posted in Learning Mandarin,Tags: , ,
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I’m not done blogging about fruits just yet. Really I just want to share with you some of the exotic fruits I’ve come across in countries like China, Malaysia and Singapore and I want to tell you that one of the BEST things about travelling or living in Asia is that you get to eat exotic fruit (异国水果 Yìguó shuǐguǒ) you’ve NEVER even seen before in your life. So if you’re visiting a country in South East Asia – hell yes go to your local fruit shop as you’re bound to go on a little adventure as you’ll be seeing some fruit and vegetables (蔬果
shū​guǒ /果蔬 guǒ​shū) you’ve never seen in your life!

So I present without further ado – a few of the exotic fruits that I may have tried personally :)

Durian fruit:榴莲 liú​lián: is a strong smelling fruit that’s very popular in South East Asia but they are very pungent – so much in fact that they are prohibited in most of Singapore’s hotels and the MRT. Their smell is sometimes compared to smelly socks and you can even get a fine for carrying it with you on the MRT in Singapore. Talk about 禁果 jìn​guǒ forbidden fruit. :) I’ve smelled this one several times and when I finally summoned the courage to try it on my last trip to Singapore – it was not in season. To be honest I kind of like the smell and would not compare it to rotten socks at all. I think I read too many websites about it that went on an on about the smell that it kind of spoils the fruit for you. To be honest it’s just a very pungent, acidic tropical smell. If I trust my sense of smell (which I do) then I am sure I will love it. Hopefully it’s in season next time.

Jack fruit or 菠萝蜜 Bōluómì is literally pineapple + honey and I have tried this one before. Not as pungent smelling as the Durian although I did smell it before I ate it and I definitely didn’t like the smell nor did I like the taste. Have you tried Jack Fruit and or Durian? If so how did the two compare in your opinion? Please tell me in the comments below.

If you’re curious about the jackfruit take a look at this video below:

Pomelo or Grapefruit depending on where in the world you’re coming from = 柚子 yòu​zi. These may not necessarily be considered exotic but their size is something that inspires photos – photos like posing with them next to your head and sending those photos to family members in far-off places. Honestly they are lovely especially in China and they are a real treat to eat! A picture can be seen here. (No it’s not a pic of me posing with it sorry.)

龙眼 lóng​yǎn longan fruit – literally dragon eye fruit. Yes because it apparently looks like dragon’s eyes – at least it’s what I was told. Who am I to argue? In my humble opinion, not a match for a litchi in terms of flavour and fleshiness though but it inspires nostalgic eating if there is such a thing…




Luckily I can get still get this in New Zealand.

枇杷 pí​pa loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) / loquat fruit. Should you get a cold and a nasty cough in China try buying some cough syrup made from loquat leaves (after you’ve checked it with your doctor or TCM specialist please of course).

火龙果 huǒ​lóng​guǒ red pitaya / dragon fruit. This fruit I guess looks like it has flames coming out of it – not sure why there is a reference to dragon in the second character maybe it looks a bit like the beard of a dragon? It does really not taste like much at all but is fascinating and absolutely stunning to look at. Because of it being such a beauty but not with much (taste) to it – I share with you this idiom I’ve come accross- ‘华而不实 huá​’ér​bù​shí flower but no fruit (idiom); handsome exterior but hollow inside / flashy.’

To be honest though – this fruit is really as beautiful inside as it is outside.


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I took this photo at the Singapore Zoo.



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Photo credit: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ncnu02/v5-378.html

Rambutan 红毛丹 / hóng​máo​dān /rambutan or rumbutan – I only ever saw this in Malaysia and it’s certainly a bit a bit intimidating at first glance. It’s the fruit you see in the big image at the start of this post. It can be fleshier and more watery than a litchi and to me the taste was a bit of a mixture between an orange and a litchy but more watery and less sweet. The litchi though remains my favourite…

Chinese Bayberry / Chinese Strawberry 杨梅 yáng​méi is a fruit you’ll often see in China and I regret to say that I never tried this. Have I missed out on much?

Mangosteen = 山竹, shānzhú. I took photos of this in China and had no idea what it was. Don’t let this happen to you. If you get a chance eat it! Apparently this is really delicious… (A picture can be seen here).

Lastly if you really love your fruit and are keen to try some exotic fruits then I suggest you visit Malaysia. It seems there are a few fruit farms in Malaysia that appeal to tourists and have a variety of fruits that you can try at their farm. A specific one that comes to mind is Desaru Fruit Farm. Unfortunately haven’t had the chance to visit this farm myself but will definitely love to visit it one day. Check out the vid below that shows their awesome fruit farm.

So these are all the exotic fruits I’ve had to share with you. Apologies for not sharing more Mandarin with you during this post but I’ve been wanting to blog about this for such a long time so I just had to get this post out of my system.

Plus sometimes you just have to be Peckish :)