Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Fruit Shop


It’s been a while since I’ve been excited about blogging about somewhere new in San Diego. But I’ve been eager to introduce this new store since my visit this past weekend.

The Fruit Shop is a store that recently opened on Convoy Street which specializes in providing its customers with fresh tropical fruit that is not available at most markets. Tropical fruits are hard to find since most of them can’t be grown in the US and must be imported. The fruits offered are very fresh and come from several different countries.

I actually found out about the store from my mom who read about it in the chinese newspaper. It is located in the same plaza as Jasmine and Dumpling Inn and owned by some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met.

I have a lot of great food loves, but tropical fruit is definitely near the top of my list. Lychee, mangoes, jackfruit, starfruit, dragonfruit, guava, I love them all. The only one I haven’t quite gotten into yet is Durian.

While the selection isn’t huge, they are constantly getting new supplies and varieties. The owner assured me that some of my most beloved fruit would be making their way into the shop once they are in season.  On the day I visited, the  selection included durian, jackfruit, rambutan, mango, papaya, mangosteen, cherimoya and tamarind.

The owners of the store are Vietnamese, and it’s quite apparent that they really know their fruit. If you don’t know how to pick the fruit, they are happy to help you.

They are also very generous with their samples, letting you sample just about every fruit being offered in the store. As someone who has purchased bad fruit before, I really liked being able to test everything out before purchasing. It is also great for introducing people to fruits they aren’t familiar with. Sampling the fruit just made me want to buy them even more because each sample was sweet and delicious.

I really was impressed with the staff. I spoke with four different staff people when I visited, and they were all equally friendly and helpful. At one point they saw me taking pictures, and they went to the storage and got more fruit out just so I could have nicer photos, even though they had no idea that I was a food blogger.

They also offer fresh squeezed sugarcane juice. Here is my sugarcane juice being made:

The sugar cane juice is mixed with something else, maybe lemon? In Taiwan, the sugarcane juice is just pure sugarcane, so I wasn’t used to this flavor. But it was still good and refreshing on a hot day.

I left extremely happy and with a big bag of fruit. FH took one look at my face and stated “We’ll be coming here a lot, won’t we?”

I love how exotic and beautiful tropical fruit is. I just had to photo mine before eating them.

Jackfruit

A whole jackfruit is enormous. But they sell small servings that are already cut and ready to eat. I got a small container that had both yellow ones and orange ones. I’ve never seen the orange colored ones before. Both were equally sweet. If you’ve never had jackfruit, each section has one giant seed in the middle which you eat around. The fruit tastes a little like melon.

Rambutan

This was my first experience with rambutan. I have been wanting to try it for a long time. It’s so exotic looking and such a vibrant shade of red. It’s very similar to lychee, except in appearance. These little guys remind me of tiny tumbleweeds. Inside the flesh is a translucent white, and tastes very similar to lychee.

Mangosteen

These are sometimes available at Vietnamese supermarkets and at Ranch 99. But I stopped getting them because they cost so much and sometimes I would get a bad batch where the shell was so hard, that they it was almost impossible to break open and eat.

This was not the case here. While the exterior shell looks hard, it was easy to break open with my fingers to get to the white flesh underneath.

One of the reasons I love mangosteens is because they look like flowers inside. It is one of the prettiest fruit I’ve ever seen. At the bottom of the shell you will see a flower shape. Inside, the flesh is shaped to resemble flower petals. I tried to get a perfect flower shape one for this picture, but out of the five I peeled only one was perfect and I messed up the shell.

There are usually a few perfect looking ones. But more often there is one petal that slightly bigger because it contains a seed.

The mangosteen tastes very much like a juicy white peach. The petals open up like tangerine pieces and you can eat them one by one.

Cherimoya. I haven’t dug into this one yet, so no pictures of it cut open. Inside, there are small black seeds and white flesh. It tastes similar to a soft ripe pear that is almost syrupy sweet. The best way to eat it is to cut it in half and dig the flesh out with a small spoon.

I spent a whole afternoon just sitting around enjoying all my fruit. I was so ridiculously happy. I will definitely be going back to The Fruit Shop often.

The Fruit Shop
4619 Convoy St
San Diego, CA 92111

 

21 Responses to “The Fruit Shop”

  1. 1

    Jess Wakasugi — July 13, 2011 @ 8:34 am

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of ONE of those fruits! This store looks amazing though, what a different world people will be opened up to! Wish we could get one of those in good ol’ NE. Doubtful.

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 9:17 am

      Aww, too bad. Hmm maybe if you have some sort of wholesale restaurant supply market that is open to the public, they might have some?

  2. 2

    leanne — July 13, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    How exciting! I love tropical fruit, too – a visit is definitely in order. Never had jackfruit before, but it sounds like something we might like.

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 9:18 am

      I think this was my first time having fresh jackfruit. Previously I had canned ones used in filpino desserts. The fresh one is so much better!

  3. 3

    caninecologne — July 13, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    hi kirbie – i LOVE jackfruit!!!!! i would love to buy it fresh instead of canned. they smell amazing when they’re ripe. i will have to check this place out soon and try those mangosteens as well. did they also sell lychees? as for durian – i’ll pass on that! :)

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

      I was tempted to buy a giant jackfruit after seeing other people buying it, but I couldn’t finish a giant one by myself. They are really good at helping you pick one out, telling you which is ripe now which is ripe in a week, etc. They do sell lychee, though they didn’t have it the day I went. But they do carry it. Someone asked when I was there and they said they would have it again in a week.

  4. 4

    Faye — July 13, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

    I’ve been wanting to go to this place! Looks really awesome. I was worried that their prices were going to be too high.

    Never had mangosteens. Do they taste like lychee?

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

      Well the prices aren’t cheap, but I haven’t seen cheaper prices elsewhere. It’s slightly cheaper than what I was paying for at Ranch 99 and Viet markets, and the product here is much fresher and better tasting. No the mangosteens taste like white peaches. The rambutan taste like lychee.

  5. 5

    peachkins — July 13, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

    Those are my fruit from my country too.. and what’s expensive here are the cherries, blueberries and everything from your country. Those fruits I sit down and enjoy!

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 4:21 pm

      Ah. Isn’t that always the case? It’s what we can’t have that we want more. =)

  6. 6

    angel van — July 13, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

    We just bought a 15 lb jackfruit when we went to the Korean market the other day. I am still waiting to cut into it.

    About the sugarcane juice usually they add orange halves when doing like the final run of the sugarcane. So they could have possibly done that.

    • Kirbie replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

      Oh wow. I was tempted to buy one when I was at the Fruit Shop because so many people were buying them. But it’s just me eating it so the smaller containers were better for me. Interesting on the orange halves. I will have to ask them next time what they use.

  7. 7

    Catty Critic — July 14, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

    I had rambutan in Hawaii during a luau but haven’t seen them in stores. I love lychees so this was right up my alley. Oh man, I wish I had this shop by my house!

    • Kirbie replied: — July 14th, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

      I heard there are similar shops like this in Little Saigon area of LA? Or you can stop by when you are here next week =)

  8. 8

    Fat Fudge — July 14, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    I love fruit! I’m up in LA so I’ll have to check out whether Little Saigon has a fruit shop.

  9. 9

    Rosie — July 15, 2011 @ 1:02 pm

    I LOVE Asian fruits. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get anything truly fresh over here although the lychee and longan seem to do okay.

    • Kirbie replied: — July 15th, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

      Hmm, where are you at? Yeah Longan and lychee are easier to find. The other ones are possible, but you have to find a market/source that will import them in fresh.

  10. 10

    Twizz — July 26, 2011 @ 7:24 am

    Any idea where to get Rambutan in North County? I’m in Carlsbad / San Marcos area.

    • Kirbie replied: — July 26th, 2011 @ 8:15 am

      I don’t know. Sorry. The first place I’ve seen it fresh has been at this Fruit Shop on Convoy. I’ve seen frozen ones before at Ranch 99, but they were really bad.

  11. 11

    Belinda — October 26, 2013 @ 2:40 pm

    This is amazing! Makes me wish I could get down there… Cheaper than a flight ticket home to Taiwan :) It’s great that the shopkeepers are so friendly too, helping people branch out from the fruits they’re used to. I had cherimoya for the first time in my life this summer. Not sure if it’s just my family, but it’s some sort of rite of passage into adulthood. Delicious! Thanks for sharing this find.

    • Kirbie replied: — October 27th, 2013 @ 9:07 am

      unfortunately, this shop doesn’t seem to be nearly as well as when it first opened and the selection has gotten much more limited

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