March 28, 2006

Two Strange Fruits

Congo has a season for everything: mangos, plantains, avocadoes, potatoes, termites, corruption and manioc. Oops actually those last two are always in season. I would like to introduce you to some great fruits I've just discovered.

(1) Mangosteen
This is a bright purple fruit with a thick outer shell and dainty little rounded leaf. To open it, you would apply pressure to the shell until it cracks open. Inside are oddly bright white, pulpy slices of very sweet flesh. The slices are perfectly separated--a little like orange slices. I believe this fruit originally comes from Asia.


Source:www.cosme-de.net

(2) Safu
This fruit has a purplish/blue skin. It is boiled and left to soak in water for hours. You should eat its skin and soft flesh slowly, taking care not to bite into the large pit in the middle. The first time I ate it was a religious sister's birthday party. It was impossibly bitter and I couldn't hide my pursed lips and tearing eyes (much to the amusement of everyone there). The second time I had it with pili pili and salt and the fruit had been carefully chosen and prepared. It was quite yummy, tasting somewhat like artichoke hearts with a slightly bitter aftertaste. They say pregnant women are particularly fond of this fruit so I will do my best to stay away from it :)


Source:www.photofruit.net

9 comments:

elia said...

I love mangosteens! More photos in my blog: http://elia.uing.net/1825/anotaciones.html?b_st=0&b_d=&b_cd=20060328&b_m=0&b_u=0&b_pi=4691&b_k=0&b_s=&b_o=DESC

But I had never seen safus, only eaten it boiled, and it was so horribly bitter I had to spit it out!

Victoria said...

We have mangosteen here too! They ARE yummy, but I'm sure they must taste even better in Congo.

Congogirl said...

If you have a chance to try rambutan, do not pass it by! This was my favorite fruit, discovered when I visited Mbandaka. They had some trees at the monastery.

Beaver said...

Hmmm Never heard of'em. I guess I'll get a chance to try them out in Kenya or Burundi later in the year!

TheMalau said...

The fruits of my childhood... We have three safu trees at my grandpa's house in the village (Kongo Central).

007 in Africa said...

Elia, thanks for the pics.

Vicky, glad to know that you can get them in North America as well. I won't miss 'em when I get back.

Congogirl, that's a pretty extensive link you sent me :) They sort of look like Leechees. It's funny that they come from Asia as well. I'd be interested to know how so many food stuff came from Asia to Africa.

Beaver, definitely give them a try!

The Malau, can you get safu in the states?

Carl said...

The last sentence in the safu entry is the best straight line I ever read.

TheMalau said...

If one lives in New York, or Raleigh, or Chicago, yes, one can get safus in the States (imported of course)

As for cross-continental fruits, Asia and Africa have had a much older... trading relationship than most think...

verniciousknids said...

Themalau is right about the trading relationsip! I love mangosteen and rambutan too...now I'm curious about safu :)