I feel like I’ve tasted it before. But I have never heard of it before arriving to Japan. One of the woman in the “soup kitchen” offered me after I inquired. And then I found them in good ol’ 7 Eleven. It’s called a biwa. You may have heard of it before, by another name: Chinese plum, perhaps, pipa or loquat. It’s a small, ellipsoidal fruit. It’s got a color a bit richer than a peach with the felt feel of a peach- until you wash it off. I couldn’t remember if I was supposed to peel it, so I peeled about half of the six I had, but the skin isn’t too bad, and I don’t think its bad for you. Better than eating a kiwi, skin on. As your teeth pierce the flesh, your tongue encounters a mildly sweet melon texture and flavor, reminiscent of a papaya’s taste, without any bitter hints. Closing your mouth to pull away, your eyes will behold smooth, glistening seeds about the size and color of a tamarinds with about the same seed-to-fruit ratio as a peach.
It’s just one of the few things I’ve seen in a Japanese 7 Eleven that I don’t think I’d see in the U.S. We’ll explore a bit more tomorrow with a #MyKinjo post feature the Japanese convenience store.