This post is for my mom. Last time we talked, she asked what fruits I’d been eating. Three seconds into my list, she immediately broke in with, “Lanzones! What about lanzones?”
Of course, Mom, of course lanzones!
Lanzones are globular-shaped fruit about the size of a super ball that grows in clusters. They’re so common in Thailand that hopefully I may be forgiven for not writing about them earlier. They’re like the apples of Thailand (although apples are abundant here, too. Hmm. Bad analogy. I hope you get what I mean. Moving right along…)
I did some research on them and apparently they are grown throughout Southeast Asia, especially the Philippines, which may explain why my mom is so keen on them. Their skin is light yellowish brown, like a really dirty khaki. (If you’ve never seen dirty khaki, go to a high school that utilizes them as part of their uniform. I’m talking about you, GAA — holla!)
The skin is thin and pliable and easily peeled. The fruit inside is clear and sectioned like an orange. It tastes tangy-sweet, but watch out for the seeds: there’s usually one big seed that can easily be avoided, but there are also smaller seeds that can escape detection and are bitter when bitten. The flesh has the same soft crunch as grapes; in fact I think of them as more exotic grapes (although they totally don’t taste like them. Like, totally.) Tastewise, I think they run more along the lines of a mangosteen, but not as good (of course.)
They are still very delicious; I’m not tired of eating them, though I gorge on them at least once a week. Besides being tasty, they are also cheap. I’ve seen one kilo (about 2 pounds) sell for 15 baht ($.51 U.S.).
Eating them (and other fruits here) is also a good exercise in overcoming insectophobia. It’s not uncommon for vendors to hand over a bag of lanzones that is overrun by quick, BIG, black ants. The first time I grabbed some, more than half a dozen of them swarmed onto my hand. Another time, a baby scorpion was present in the bag. However, I have nicely progressed from flinging my hand all about while making a sound halfway between a shriek and swallowing a bullfrog (I believe it phonetically resembles “heeeYUG AUGeitzachah”) to calmly brushing them off my hand while making hyperventilated, soft “heep” sounds.
So yes, I’ve tried them and loved them. Just like my mom. 🙂
(I meant: I love my mom, too; but I suppose I also mean that my mom and I have the same taste in foods. Ooh, so layered… or just a poorly constructed sentence. :T Anyhoo — I’m out. For reals.)