Disappointment is never a fun feeling to talk about. Because it is actually a multi-step process to get to a feeling of disappointment. There is anticipation, excitement, analysis and finally, whether you like it or not, the disappointment creeps in. The shadow of it starts at you brow and works it’s way down your face where a grimace at the mouth is the end result. This was my first experience with dragonfruit. Now granted, I may have had a hand in my own disappointment and because of this I am not of dragonfruit for good, but this is not the way to start a relationship with a new food.

What is dragonfruit you ask? It is a rather alien looking pod-like food that grows in warmer, temperate climates like Mexico, South East Asian and even San Diego. It is a bright magenta fruit that grows at the end of a cactus plant. It is popular in Asia and has worked its way in to specialty food shops and Asian markets in more urban areas. When you slice it open, it takes on an even more peculiar appearance. The edible part of the fruit is white, with a grainy feel to it. It feels like when you bite into a pear or a pithy apple. It is also dotted with little black seeds. The first time I saw a dragonfruit cut open, it looked like it was animated or something that was fictional, like what unicorns would eat. It has a very slight, sweet scent and it’s not very juicy.

Isn’t this thing crazy looking?! I had read about dragonfruit on another food blog called whiteonricecouple, they grew them in their backyard and even provided a recipe for the fruit.  After that I began noticing more and more articles and pictures of this freakish looking fruit. It is touted as a superfood, dense with antioxidants, vitamin C and such. A new exotic miracle food like Acai or Gogi berries. I happened to see them for sale at my local Asian market shortly after reading about them. After turning it over in my hands several times and marveling at the site of the thing, I decided it was worth a try. Since I live in an area where it’s not ideal to grow dragonfruit, the cost of the thing was a little steep. I figured it was a rare experience and my curiosity won over my pocketbook.

I brought the thing home and immediately showed it to my boyfriend. He was just as surprised and slightly horrified by its appearance as I was. We had plans for that evening so we had to forgo exploring it until later. This may be where I foiled my experience with dragonfruit. The days got away from me, work and study soon took over my thoughts and I forgot about the alien fruit in the fridge. I forgot! How horrible for me to admit! Such excitement and fascination put on hold for mundane life. Such a waste.

I found it in the fridge a few days later and although it had aged a bit, it seemed like it was still edible. I took it out, set it on the counter, marveled a bit more at it and reach for the knife.

Even though I had seen pictures of the fruit, it was still a shocking sight. I cut it into wedges, sniffed a piece for a bit and took a bite. This is where the disappointment began to creep up into my brow. It was grainy, and wet but overall, it was pretty flavorless. There was a slight citrus, melon-like taste to it but it was very faint. I put down the piece and reached for another, thinking ‘maybe I just got a bad piece’. Nope. The next wedge had the same wet, indistinctly sweet hint of flavor. The websites had suggested that they were ‘mild’ in flavor but this was near blankness. Did I leave it for too long before I chose to eat it? Did I not pick a good one? Was it still not ripe? I felt like I had been slighted. The look of the fruit was far too flamboyant and exciting for such an absence of flavor and the cost of the fruit made it even worse.

I cubed up the remaining fruit and stored it in the fridge. I shared it with my boyfriend and his roommate and they shared my reaction. How could such a crazy, colorful exotic fruit be such a tease?

I nibbled on the remaining fruit for the next few days but ended up throwing away about a 1/3 of it. I guess I now have the distinction of saying I’ve tried dragonfruit, but I can’t say it without a pang of disappointment. Perhaps I will try it again later and love it. Perhaps I did do something wrong with this one. Either way this is just another example of an important life lesson: Don’t judge a book by it cover. Or, in this case: Don’t be a sucker for packaging.