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Spring fruit hits the stands 糖水枇杷果


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They look tasty. I can see why they are called Japanese plums. They have a large stone all be it in more than one part but also the flesh really looks plum like. I have never come across wolfberries before, what are these.


Thanks again for your efforts, I do like the fruit ones.

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I like those too, @anonymoose -- One of the things that I like about being here is these distinct, short seasons for various fruits (and vegetables.) strawberry 草莓,pipa 枇杷,Lychee 荔枝,longan 龙眼, mango 芒果, cantaloupe 哈密瓜,and so on. These foods come and go; you can buy them at their peak today; two or three weeks later, they're gone. 


The pipa fruit here has not quite hit it's peak. By the end of the month there will be piles of them everywhere you look and the prices will drop. Then, as April starts, they will be scarce for a week, then totally disappear. 


The best pipas I've had are from the SE of Yunnan around Mengzi 蒙自。One spring I took the train back from there and it seemed like most of the passengers were holding small baskets of them on their laps. Having bought the fruit near the fields completely ripe at a good price, they were carefully bringing it themselves back to the city to share with family and friends. 


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11 hours ago, Shelley said:

I have never come across wolfberries before, what are these.


Thanks for your comments, @Shelley -- Wolfberry is the odd name usually assigned in the west to these nutritious small berries, though they are sometimes also called "goji," being gouqi 枸杞 in Chinese. They have been around since the 3rd century CE and are used extensively in cooking, particularly soups.


453872449_chickensoupgouqi-60.thumb.jpg.e18a8b534c264073809ea6fa6893ff66.jpg     1134318241_gouqijiroutang-70.thumb.jpg.25573d9112e70f32d536e2003142324b.jpg


They also have a role as a beverage ingredient, often being combined with chrysanthemum flowers 菊花 in an herb tea. They are used in small quantities, since eating too many can cause excessive internal heat 上火。













They have a gentle, mildly sweet flavor and are often lauded by health food afficionados as a "super fruit," with claims to the effect that they can prevent cancer and slow down ageing. Although the scientific evidence for these claims is not bulletproof, I tend to go along with it since, after beginning regular consumption of them quite a few years ago, I am soon coming up on my 234th birthday (this October.) 


They are usually sold dried. 


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Went back to the wet market today because I forgot a few essentials yesterday in my excitement over all the new fruit. (I've been overseas in the US for two months, and just got back to Kunming.)


Looked close at the pipas 枇杷果 again, and saw some prices had come down slightly in 24 hours. It was Sunday a little before noon, and my guess is that merchants who had bought a large "sell-this-weekend" supply wanted to move their stock. If I were to return this evening about 6, no doubt some great bargains could be had with only a little bargaining skill. 谈价。


These large unblemished beauties were 2 Yuan less than yesterday.



   Please click the photos to enlarge them.















These below were from Mengzi 蒙自, down south in Honghe Prefecture 红河州 where Yunnan's best pipas originate. Sign says they are from an old strain of pipa tree. (Some strains are prized by people in the  know.) They sell them with leaves still in place, because some people use the leaves to brew a medicinal tea. These even have stems and fruit as a unit, to minimize the chance of bruised fruit. The price is reduced accordingly, since if you just eat the pipas themselves, you will have a bit more waste. 


















Next to one of the pipa sellers was a vendor who had two big plastic tubs of very nice looking pickled pears 泡梨。These were from Lu Chun 绿春,far down in the beautiful green mountains between Yuanyang 元阳 and Pu'er 普尔 or Simao 思茅。The friendly young lady dressed in Yizu 彝族 ethnic costume helped me select 5 Yuan of small pears, only slightly larger than a chicken egg. She said, understandably, that small ones get penetrated better by the flavors of the pickling juice. 


214407722_IMG_20190317_113656(2)-800px.thumb.jpg.4601f332e477e4e7f44ef8f14860b1f2.jpgThese interesting pickled fruits have a strangely-likable flavor profile that fuses salty, sweet, and sour, with a hint of heat from red pepper 辣椒。They are crunchy, not soft. They sell them with several large scoops of juice, enough to keep them immersed. They will keep on my counter here in Kunming for about a week, as long as there's plenty of liquor. I appreciate the fact that they don't use up refrigerator space. 


I'm told that the best ones, like these, are made from a special variety of pear, a half-wild cultivar. Even though they are allowed to mature on the tree for the sake of fuller flavor, they don't become large or soft as they ripen. Makes them ideal for this application. 








Today was Sunday, as mentioned, and the market always assumes sort of a festival air on Sundays. Kids get all happy, jump around and tug on Granny's hand asking permission to buy this or that trinket or toy. 


















Look close at the left of that frame and you will see the sugar cane vendor. This is another spring bounty. Here's a closer look. She peels the tough outer skin and cuts the cane into manageable sections 10 or 12 inches long that you can chew as you wander around. She puts 3 or 4 cleaned pieces into a plastic bag for you. Her brother next door has a hand-crank roller machine that will simply crush and extract the fresh sugar cane juice into a cup if you prefer taking that route. (It's more fun to chew on the juicy fibrous segments and spit the tough woody bits onto the sidewalk as you walk along.)  


1762484084_IMG_20190317_114855(2)-800px.thumb.jpg.4a37b4be176a0c8d55e5b52c24f71c60.jpgThe sign pasted to the wall to her left advertises "help wanted 招工。If you think you might like a career in sugar cane, give her a ring at the number listed below. Females preferred, according to the sign. It doesn't say why. 














Near the gate the pushcart 推车 and tricycle 三轮车 vendors 小摊 are now seeping in without paying rent. It varies whether or not security allows them space. If not they cluster just outside, snarling traffic. Sometimes they offer great bargains; but you have to know your stuff to prevent getting cheated.


















This area also attracts musical beggars, like this blind gentleman who was making very good sounds with an erhu 二胡 and leg bells. I gave him a one-Yuan note 钞票, but realized at the last minute that I could have gone modern and used either WeChat Pay or my Ali Pay app. (Note the green and white 二维码 QR code on his donation box.)





I must be nuts to enjoy such a simple thing as a trip to the neighborhood wet market, but I confess that it's one of the things I miss when away. 

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