Just last week, Jaya Grocer at Empire Shopping Gallery launched the Taiwan Fair of Fruits and Vegetables, bringing to us urbanites in Klang Valley the opportunity to sample rare imported Taiwan vegetables & fruits at pretty affordable prices (well, minus the flight tickets & accomodation to Taiwan is savings no?!).
The objective of the fair is to draw attention to availability of these unique Taiwanese fruits, especially the Golden Mangoes and the luscious dark Kyoho grapes, and vegetables in Malaysia.
The Taiwan Golden Mangoes are predominantly grown on the hillside 200-500m above sea level in southern Taiwan. This Jin Hwang variety of mangoes has large fruits with a thin core. Its skin is golden and smooth with a touch of light pink, and its flesh is silky with almost no fibres. The harvesting season is from May to September.
To ensure the quality and safety of mangoes, the government has established a quality and safety management programme specifically for the orchards and distributors that supply export mangoes. The system stipulates registration for farmers and exporters, certification of exporting orchards, guidance for integrated pest management with reduced use of pesticides, pesticide residue detection, appropriate pre-harvesting handling and post-harvesting packaging, and a barcode labeling operation and tracking scheme. The recent increase in export volume attests the effectiveness of this quality and safety management system.
Irwin is another variety grown in Taiwan for export. It has apple-red skin, and has fragrant and yellow velvety flesh.
Kyoho grapes – I liked these really sweet babies! It’s almost like the Korean grapes kinda texture (where the skin & the flesh separates easily) but not as sour. On the right are the sweet plums.
Kyoho grapes, pronounced kee-OH-ho, are big, dark purple, sometimes almost jet black, thick-skinned, extremely showy grapes that offer a superb sweet flavor. The taste, texture and juice are very similar to the familiar Concord grape. Quite fragrant, the nearly one-inch of meaty flesh inside is deliciously sweet and very juicy. The grape’s moderate acidity makes for the right balance of flavours.
** An original Japanese table grape, the name Kyoho means “great or big mountain” and was named after Mount Fuji because of its generous size.
It’s the King of Grapes in Japan and grows in the Minoh mountain area there. The variety is a successful cross between Campbell and Centennial grapes.
Kyoho grapes make a lovely edible garnish. It dresses up almost any dish and make great tasting preserves, jams, desserts and topping. Puree the seeded pulp to make a refreshing juice and to flavour iced beverages.
Cholesterol-free, low in fat and sodium, grapes offer some vitamin C, potassium, thiamine and dietary fibre.
June-August, September-October, December-February.
Changhua, Taichung, Nantou, and Miaoli counties.
Nutritional Content : (Per 100g)
A giant, oblong-shaped watermelon weighing about 20kg was cut at the opening of the fair. Also present at the jumbo watermelon cutting ceremony were representatives from the Taiwan Trade Centre and District Farmers Association in Taiwan, as well as retail buyers.
Really huge watermelons!
We treated to some of these fruits after the ceremony. I find the Taiwan watermelon more fleshy than our usual variety & boasted of a more natural sweetness in taste.
Winter bitter gourd – I was tempted to buy these just cos they are so pretty in white!
For a preview, they served us the pureed juice of this unique variety & I nearly choked in the bitter aftertaste of it. No worries though, we were advised that adding more honey & perhaps a bit of lime juice would make it more drinkable. Worth a try I think, since it’s said to possess medicinal properties and can help to improve appetite. Eating bitter gourd helps to lower blood sugar in those with diabetes too.
This unique variety was developed recently and has become very popular in Taiwan. Creamy white fruits are very beautiful in the gardens and attractive in the markets (see, I told you so!) & has been commanding a higher price than other varieties of bitter gourd.
In Taiwan, the bitter gourd is often protected while growing and covered using paper sleeves, by closing the top end but keeping the bottom end open, to block the sunlight exposure and to minimize fruit skin scratch during the fruit growth, to obtain beautiful fruits.
The seeds are orange in colour, the fruits are large and each can grow up to 30cm in length. Just like any other gourds, this white bitter gourd can be eaten in a variety of ways – by juicing it and adding honey and lemon, or by cooking it in stews, steamed or stir-fried.
We were given a token of appreciation – a box of pineapple tarts ALL THE WAY FROM TAIWAN & a hamper of the fruits that’s on sale at the fair.
You can see the Taiwan guava here – bottom right. I love the smooth flesh (it’s not as rough as our local guavas) & crisp texture. Flavour-wise it’s mildly sweet.
Taiwan is the world’s premier grower of guavas. It is able to produce this fruit all twelve months of the year. Originally blessed with a large variety of indigenous guavas, Taiwan has imported and cultivated foreign guava varieties since 1915. A string of advancements in Taiwan guava production has led to the cultivation of excellent and hardy guavas year round throughout the island. The nutritional content of the guava is superb, as guavas are an excellent source of Vitamin C. Although guavas come in white, red, and yellow flesh varieties, in Taiwan production of the greatest variety, largest size, and largest volume of this fruit belongs to the white flesh varieties. Referred to as the full moon, the pear guava is remarkable for its thick, crispy flesh and flavourful aroma.
The white guava is known for its clear, shiny peel and refreshing taste; the Thai guava for its low sugar levels and crisp texture; the thick, crispy Crystal guava; and in recent years, the pearl guava, a new arrival, for its sweet, aromatic flavour and supple texture.
All varieties of guavas produced in Taiwan are incredibly well received in the marketplace by consumers.
For a delectably juicy, sweet, and tender guava that practically melts in your mouth, Taiwan’s guavas have no comparison, overwhelmingly meeting consumer preferences in a competitive international fruit marketplace. Currently, Taiwan’s main export markets for guava are Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, and Mainland China, with new markets continually opening up, seeking guavas of superior quality and unbeatable taste. Guavas are cultivated all year round, in the Ilan, Nantou, Changhua, Yunlin, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Pingtung counties of Taiwan.
OTHER FRUITS AVAILABLE AT THE FAIR AND PRICES ARE AS BELOW:
Not just fruits & bitter gourds, there’s green & water bamboo shoots as well as carrots.
I’m guarding my stash of pineapple tarts closely. These tarts are marvellous, and totally beats our Malaccan pineapple tarts anytime!
The buttery crust is aromatic without being too oily while the pineapple fillings are perfectly balanced in terms of the sweetness level. It’s not too smooth either, hence I was still able to feel the fibres of pineapples on my tongue. Oh, I’m so addicted to these! Now I know why Taiwan is famous for their pineapple tarts!
The Taiwan Fair, which is also held at Mercato Sri Hartamas in Kuala Lumpur, will be from July 23 to August 14.
Other supermarkets in the Klang Valley where these Taiwan fruits and vegetables will be available are Jusco in MidValley and Bandar Utama, Urban Food in the SS2 Mall and Carrefour at Tropicana Mall.
All pictures during the launch are taken with the Samsung HMX-Q10 as I forgot to replace my memory card into my NX11.