Monday, September 26, 2011

Fresh jackfruit

I've lived just outside of Little Vietnam and I've been to a Little Cambodia and a Little Bosnia, but somehow I'd never been to a Chinatown - any Chinatown - until Caitlin and I went to Boston's Chinatown on Friday. There were a lot of highlights - ridiculously cheap lunch, roasted ducks and suckling pigs sold by the pound, $1 Portuguese tarts at Great Taste Bakery (crust so delicate it falls apart when you pick it up, rich creamy custard) - and we picked up some crazy cheap produce at C-Mart, including this big chunk of jackfruit.

Jackfruit looks weird, and looks a lot like durian, and although they're not actually related (I thought they were until checking Wikipedia just now), there is a slight similarity in taste - but don't be alarmed. Where jackfruit resembles durian's flavor is in the tropical fruity notes that durian has, not the sewagey rotting onion notes.

Fresh Jackfruit

The flesh surrounds big seeds, and scoops out pretty easily. When it's young, jackfruit flesh is starchy and cooked like a vegetable. Mature, it's sweet, meaty like a firm mango or something (though less wet to the touch, despite being juicy), and the flavor is incredible. I'd had canned and frozen jackfruit before, but never fresh - and fresh it's much more complex. Canned jackfruit tastes sort of like Juicyfruit gum. Frozen, it's less overwhelmingly sweet, with more subtle notes - sometimes like flavors you find in better bananas, but with a million things that'll probably remind you of every tropical fruit you've had, from cherimoya to pineapple. There's no acidity, which makes me think it would pair well with something tart - fresh pineapple maybe.

Piece of jackfruit

Jackfruit flesh.

Awesome awesome stuff, and a bargain - I think we paid about the same price for it fresh as we would have canned, a couple bucks.

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