Dragon fruit (trái thanh long in Vietnamese) is an exotic fruit that has a very unusual appearance. The outer skin has a fuchsia color with green leaves and the flesh is white with seeds that are reminiscent of kiwi. The texture of dragon fruit is creamy and it has a subtle aroma of banana and ripe, soft pear. When fully ripened, the skin peels off as it would from an avocado.
I made a very simple fruit salad, using the Vietnamese Jaina dragon fruit variety, spearmint from our garden and agave nectar. The agave enhances the sweetness, and the mint lends a nice contrast of color and flavor. I served the fruit salad during a dinner party. Everyone was intrigued by the fruit, so it did double duty as a conversation starter.
If you ever travel to an Asian country, don't forget to ask for dragon fruit or pitaya. The last time I had dragon fruit was on my trip to Vietnam. I had no idea that this particular tropical fruit was cultivated in America. A couple of weeks ago I found it in an Asian market in San Jose. The salesperson told me dragon fruits are now grown in Florida, due to its humid and warm weather, which is similar to Vietnam. Quite honestly, the ones grown in the US are good but the ones in Vietnam are just exquisite and so much more flavorful. No sweetener necessary!