Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009

Try an Aesthetically Challenged Fruit

Don't hate the custard apple because it's not beautiful. The gnarled ridge of bumps that forms its outer skin, like a cluster of barnacles, conceals what is perhaps Asia's most delectable fruit: creamy, white and phenomenally sweet. The variety common in the island of Taiwan is locally called sek-kia, a reference to depictions of the Buddha where the deity sports knotted braids on his head. Eating this local delicacy certainly promises a transcendental experience. Taiwanese custard apples are larger than most, with black seeds scattered in the fruit's copious, juicy flesh. Get your fix at stalls in any of Taipei's vast night markets and you'll breeze through the city's streets with sticky fingers and a smile of serene satisfaction to make the Buddha proud.

— By Ishaan Tharoor