Enter the Dragon fruit

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It doesn’t have any distinct flavor, but it has a lot of antioxidants known to ward off free radicals that’s causing many kinds of ailments. At a fruit stand, one would not miss the bright colors and unusual shape of this fruit. Because, for one, it doesn’t look like it’s not an ornamental plant. And it doesn’t look edible either. But surprisingly, many have already discovered the gem that is the dragon fruit. Dragon fruit is native to South and Central America.

But it is so widely distributed that several varieties can now be found in six continents. Thailand, because of her sheer agricultural prowess, is no exception. The fruit, called Kaew Mong Kon in Thai, abounds in fresh markets and even sidewalks. It is actually a cactus fruit with fuchsia pink skin and scales. Legend has it that the fruit came from a fire-breathing dragon. During a battle, these dragons would spit fire to the warriors and then spit the fruit last. After the dragon was slain, the warriors would collect the fruit and offer this to the emperor as a treasure and sign of victory.p4

The slain dragon would then be butchered and eaten by the warriors. It was believed that those who partake it would be endowed with exceptional strength and ferocity. But legend or no legend, dragon fruit is a healthy alternative. The fruit has three varieties which can be differentiated through the color of its flesh – white, red or magenta. The red variety is said to contain substantial amounts of lycopene, a natural antioxidant known to fight cancer, heart disease and lower blood pressure.

The popularity of dragon fruit has reached an all-time high. It is now the leading fruit export to Vietnam. Fruit juice giants Snapple, Tropicana and Sobe have added a dragon fruit flavored juice in their product lines. Don’t be fooled when someone tells you it tastes like kiwi (like how most people would describe it taste). The fruit is often chilled and cut in half with the flesh spooned cut. True, its texture and consistency is like that of a kiwi but its taste is not. It doesn’t really have any distinct flavor.

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The seeds though are crunchy. Because of its rather bland flavor, dragon fruit is best eaten with other fruits. It will actually add a twist to any dish which can be combined with fruit. Salads and salsas, for example, are best combined with dragon fruit. If you haven’t discovered this wonderful fruit, it is time to drop by your favorite fruit store and stock up on it. Remember not to eat the skin, it’s not edible.

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