For those of you interested in experiencing tropical Asian fruits without going there, Vancouver Chinatown is a haven. But beware that the fruit selection is indefinitely richer in the old Chinatown—which always surprises me because the new Chinatown in Richmond has so much more traffic and so much more people. But such is reality.
For many who have ventured into Southeast Asia, Vancouver is one of the places closest to continental U.S. that offers such a large variety of Southeast Asian fruits, including jackfruit, soursop, custard apples, rambutaon, longan, lychees, and the dragon fruit native to Vietnam. Selection also includes the mangosteen (available almost all year-round)—sometimes known in many English language guidebooks as the king of all fruit I think because of the surprise it yields. The fruit is round, and very purple. However, this purple skin opens up to yield incredibly snowy white meat and a sweet, delicate flavor. But do not confuse it with the other king of fruits of Southeast Asia, which is the durian. The scent of the durian has been invariably compared to stinky cheese, dirty socks, and a number of other unappetizing odors. The fruit itself is spiky, like a green porcupine, and the spikes can truly hurt if you are not careful. Upon opening, you find rich golden colored fruit, which well, melts like butter—and it is as rich as butter—in your mouth. It is definitely an acquired taste, but the worshippers of the durian believe that it is the flavor of heaven. So for those of you who truly considers yourself adventurers, let me know what you think of this fruit.