Who does not like fruits? In Yangshuo fruit is plentiful. Some fruits are seasonal, others you can find the whole year through. Some of the fruits are commonly well known, bananas, oranges, plums but others are typical for China and even Yangshuo itself. Let’s explore the world of the Yangshuo fruits.
Bananas, Ba Jiao
At the markets in and around Yangshuo you will be able to buy bananas. The normal bananas do not grow in the countryside of Yangshuo. Most of the bananas come from the areas around Nanning, south Guangxi.
However, there is one kind of banana that is special to Yangshuo The Ba Jiao is a local grown species, larger then normal bananas. The fruit is mostly used to flavor curries, teas and pickles. It is an ingredient of ‘five spice powder’, used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine.
Some chew this banana after a meal in order to sweeten the breath. One has to be cautious as the fruit is supposed to poisonous.
Grapes are a well known fruit. Grapes can be found at the Yangshuo markets from July to October.
They local grown and available from July to October. Some of the very best grapes I ever had was however in north China, in the surrounding of Xi’an but the grapes in Guilin and Yangshuo are sweet and very tasty.
You will easily find grapes at the local market in Yangshuo town center but you might be lucky to buy some on the road when you make a bicycle tour in the Yangshuo are.
In many places in the world you will able to find pears. In Holland, my native country, we have pear gardens. Cycling through northern Iran gave me a look on endless pear gardens too.
However, Yangshuo has its own specific local grown pears. These Chinese Pears are very juicy and a welcome addition to kill the thirst when you are on your bicycle in the limestone mountains.
While cycling around you might find small stalls on the roadside where local farmers sell smaller qualtities of these pears, usually for better prices then in town.
Typical season for Chinese pears in Yangshuo is July to September.
Kumquats or cumquats, local name Jinju
Kumquats or cumquats are small yellow orange fruits of about 3-5 cm. They are quite popular and grow around the Yangshuo in the field.
Kumquats originated in China, (they are noted in literature dating to the 12th century. The season for jinju, as they are called by the locals is December-January.
Mandarin Oranges and ranges
Mandarin oranges and oranges are popular fruits. In China they are popular too, especially during Chinese New Year. The fruits are plucked from the end of October to late November. During the Chinese New Year period they are usually more expensive due to heavy demands. According to local believe, oranges bring good luck and prosperity.
Of all the Yangshuo fruits, persimmon takes an interesting position. It is a more exotic fruit from Yangshuo. The fruit is harvested by the end of October and dried in the weeks after. The fresh persimmon looks a little like tomato and has the same fresh red color and although the fruit has a very fresh taste it is very different tasting then tomato.
The fruit has its origin in Asia but is since the 1800’s also cultivated in California and southern Europe.
Persimmons are sweet but crunchy, like an apple. If you can get them, it’s worth a try. Raw persimmon can lead to diarrhea if eaten too much but interestingly when the fruit is cooked it is used to treat diarrhea and dysentery.
In the weeks after harvesting, the farmers dry the fruit for amongst other things, making tea.
Plums are plentiful in Yangshuo. The local grown plums come in all colors, red, blue, green, yellow and they all have their specific taste. You will be able to find plums from March until September.
Another quite unknown tropical fruit in the west is the pomelo (also known as shaddock). The pomelo have the size of a small football, yellow or greenish of color. Pomelos are known by the locals for it’s cleansing of the kidneys. The peel is quite hard and inside the flesh is covered with a white peel. The easiest way to eat the juicy fruit is to open the white peel and suck the flesh from the peel.
Pomelos are usually picked after the Moon Festival which is usually held in October
Water chestnut is another popular fruit. You will find water chestnut roasted at the road side and it’s very popular with the local Chinese people. Personally I find them usually a little on the dry side.
Water chestnuts are also used in cooking. A specific dish to be found in Yangshuo contains pork ribs with carrots and water chestnuts.
Watermelon can be found in many countries, including China. The watermelons found in Yangshuo can weight several kg’s and they are an excellent way to kill your thirst when you are on the bicycle in the heat of the summers day in the limestone mountains.
You will be able to buy chunks of watermelon on the road sites or get them on the local markets, almost everywhere.