Sunday, August 17, 2008

Peaches and Grapes from Japan

While shopping at the Elements Shopping Mall in Hong Kong ( same place where I bought the PETiTS cupcakes), my family and I decided to check out the upscale grocery store Three-Sixty.  They sell many foreign products at foreign prices, but we weren't turned off by the prices since there were food items we haven't seen since past travels.  We were actually quite excited and spent over an hour scouring up and down all the aisles.  Plus there were samples available, my family never turns down free food or drinks. (lol)

We came out of there with several bags of goodies, but our prize purchases were two Japanese water peaches and a box of Japanese perfume grapes.  (I'm not sure what the true names are, but water peach and perfume grapes are direct translation from Cantonese).  

I've never had the grapes before, so I was excited to try one.  Both Jess and mom said they don't like them much due to their weird perfume-y taste.  Looking inside the box, I can see the grapes were HUGE.  I don't really like grapes with seeds, and I know big grapes equal seeds.  Bummer.  

But these were very expensive grapes, so I wasn't going to let them go to waste.  As you can see one small box was $336 HKD which is about $48 USD.  At that price if it meant eating them all by myself, I was up for the challenge.  

I bit my first grape in half, so I can pick out the seeds.  The skin was thick and crunched when I bit into it.  The flesh of the grape actually popped out of the skin when I chewed.  And you know what, NO SEEDS!  Yeah, I love these grapes.  But wait, they taste weird.  It did taste kind of perfume-y.  Hhhhmmm, not so good.  

Dad had a few, stopped eating and said he rather have the peach.  Oh man, I was going to have to eat all of it myself.  Great...  But as I was sucking the flesh out of the skin (the skin can be a bit tart), the taste grew on me, and I was starting to enjoy them.  

Watching me eat, Jess decided to give the grapes another try, (our family gives food many chances to change our mind - pork fat candy, I have a feeling we will meet again).  She actually liked the skin more than the flesh.  She felt the skin was the best part being crispy, crunchy, and fruity, kind of like candy.  

Watching Jess eat, mom eventually came around and said she would lend us a hand in finishing.  We knew she couldn't help herself, and we eventually polished off the entire box.   Yum!

Now for the peach.  Ohhhh man, these are so good.  They are much better in Japan (I think Japan exports their rejects), but these were better than any other peach I've had outside of Japan.  If you've had one before, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If you have not, you must try one at least once in your lifetime.  

When we first had them in Japan some 15 or so years ago, we visited a fruit stand where the shop owner was furious with dad when he tried to pick a peach up.  The owner came over and yell at dad and showed him a sign that said "NO TOUCHING".  Dad was confused since he'd never shopped for produce without touching or smelling.  The owner said by touching even with gentle pressure, we would bruise the fruit and the juices would break through.  Then he guaranteed us that each peach was equally sweet, juicy, and ripe, and it would be the best we would have ever eaten, if not we can come back for a refund.  

We bought one for $6 USD.  Yep, it was outrageously expensive.  We never did get our money back, instead we had bought a whole box to carry back to Hong Kong to share with dad's family.

When we saw they were selling them at Three-Sixty for $45 HKD (about $6.50 USD), it was a bargain, and we grabbed two!  (And went back for a couple more the next day!)

A little advice, when you bite into one, have a large towel available preferably somewhere near your mouth and arms.  It's that juicy!  The juice just flows like a water fall out of the fruit, hence the name water peach.  The skin is thick and can be eaten with the flesh, but this leads to more overflowing of juices due to the force of the bite.  Instead  after the first bite, we chose to peel the skin off, which comes off like peeling a sticker from its sheet.  The juice is sweet and fragrant, very similar to peach candy or more like the Japanese peach drinks.  

A fellow blogger, whose Japanese, told me the peaches are killer with vanilla ice cream.  OMG, that sounds so divine!!   I must try them with ice cream next time.

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