When Americans think of Chinese food, the dishes that come to mind are typically foods like egg rolls, chow mein, General Tso’s chicken or sweet and sour pork. Fruit from China is not usually considered, though Americans might eat some imported Chinese fruit without realizing it came from China. While China has several fruits that grow there, the popular fruits that originate in China might surprise you.
Kabosu is a type of citrus fruit that originates and naturally grows in China. It is green in color with a tart and sour taste similar to a lemon. During Japan’s Edo period it was imported from China and adapted to the Japanese climate, so it is commonly used for Japanese cuisine as well as Chinese. In Japanese foods, kabosu is made into vinegar and used as a condiment for flavoring fish.
Lychee, which has several spellings and is also commonly spelled as “litchi.” It is a fruit from the soapberry family that originates in Canton, China and is usually a red or pink colored fruit, though some trees might produce amber colored or slightly green fruit as well. The fruit is small in size, typically around the size of a strawberry with a warty peel. The peel is pulled away to reveal a sweet tasting fruit. One seed is found in the middle of the fruit.
Kumquats are the smallest citrus fruit, and they originated in China. According to Esther Sung, a writer for Epicurious, a kumquat is only the size of a grape, but it has an intense flavor. She points out that the fruit is both sweet and sour with the kumquat peel being sweeter than then inner pulp. They are a lucky symbol and are typically eaten whole rather than peeled.
The kiwi, which is sometimes known as the Chinese gooseberry, is the national fruit of China. It grows in the Shaanxi region of China and is full of healthy properties including vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. The peel of the fruit is removed and the green inner fruit is eaten. The seeds are also eaten with the fruit.
Dragon Fruit is a type of Chinese fruit that grows on a cactus. They are a sweet and sour fruit option that is high in fiber and vitamin C, making them a good option for any diet. According to Mark Vayngrib, the fruit is a good option for anyone with Type 2 diabetes.
References and ResourcesNutrition and You: Kiwi Fruit
New Asian Cuisine; Kabosu; January 4, 2010
Purdue University; Lychee; Julia F. Morton; 1987
Epicurious; A Visual Guide to Asian Fruits and Vegetables; Esther Sung
Travel China Survival Guide: Chinese Fruit; Mark Vayngrib