Jade Purses

The Taiwanese loooove their fruit.

With fertile soil, healthy competition, and local knowledge of what’s best month to month (even week to week!) it’s no wonder why Taiwan’s farmers keep coming out with different varieties of fruit. In America, we are starting to see this on a small scale, at select farmers markets you can find families of apricots and apples that you’ve never heard of before. But in Taiwan, big farms and little farms alike breed sweeter and juicier fruit year after year, each new hybrid beating out its predecessor from the years before. I can’t imagine what a Taiwanese seed bank looks like by now.

Lychees don’t escape the frantic cross breeding of fruits, and in fact I even tasted a mango that was infused with Lychee flavor- by means of breeding. The ones pictured above were seen on a table at the Ningxia Night Market. Among the rows of chinese sausages, oyster omelettes, scallion patties and skewered meats, the bright bunches of lychees stood out, calling my name. This breed is called the Jade Purse lychee- for their resemblance to the ancient, well, jade purses. With a smaller pit and more succulent flesh, it’s a favorite of many Taiwanese and has outlasted its fellow lychees as a longstanding favorite. After tasting these (but not too many- not good for you chi!) I can most definitely understand why. A MUST-try if you find yourself on the tiny fruitful island of Taiwan.

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