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Tropical fruit tasting

Want something different to set your party apart from others? Try a tropical fruit tasting

Posted September 15, 2012 by Ed Morita

Photo by Candy Suiso

“Wine tastings are old school,” said Makaha Mangoes’ Mark Suiso, at Friday’s Hawaii Tropical Fruit Growers Conference at the University of Hawaii. “If you want to do something really special at your party, have a tropical fruit tasting.”

The fruits we’re all used to were there — papayas, pineapples, lychees and tangerines, but there were others that appeared to have been pulled from Darwin’s grab bag, like the red- and yellow-fleshed dragon fruit.

Even the mangoes were a sight to behold, including varieties like the voluptuous Rapoza, which literally grows to the size of your head, or the equally salacious Gouveia mango, which can be easily identified by it’s nipples. Other unique fruits included rambutans, jack fruit, sapodilla, canistel (also known as egg fruit) and durian.

The purpose of the tasting was to educate. Hawaii has all but two micro-climates (those missing are arctic and sub-arctic). This means that Hawaii’s farmers can grow virtually any plant on the planet. Yet, people here don’t know what to do with them. It’s the hope that by exposing people to different fruits, they’ll eventually create a greater demand for different varieties of locally grown fruits.

Here are some of our favorites from the tasting:

Fruit tasting (1 of 15)

Fruit tasting

Green tea mochi rice in orange jack fruit and mango mochi rice in yellow jack fruit.


  1. Melissa808
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 8:41 am

    I just want you all to know that I had a pretty girl hold up the plate of jackfruit….and Ed shot a close up of the jack fruit. Just sayin.

  2. Posted September 15, 2012 at 11:33 am

     @Melissa808 Did you not notice that I managed to use the words “voluptuous” and “salacious” into this blog post? It’s all about the food porn baby!

  3. turkfontaine
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    the more delicate the blossom, the tastier the fruit….just sayin’

  4. Melissa808
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm

     @edmorita It was like a scene out of Revenge of the (Food) Nerds.

  5. nonstopmari
    Posted September 15, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    i wish i cd have made it. looks like the markets of southeast asia, where i’d buy mangosteen by the kilo and have them score the durian for me.
    ed, that chico sapote may be what keeps falling off a tree in my backyard. i’ll take a pic and send it to u. they’re bigger than softballs and have a slightly scratchy skin and a deep orange flesh. we just keep throwing them away, nobody knows what to do w/ them.

  6. Bill Tobin
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Mahalo Ed (and Melissa).  Sounds like we missed a good time.

  7. Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm

     @nonstopmari That’s one of the reasons why Mark wants to push for more education so that people learn what to do with the fruit in they find.

  8. Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:06 pm

     @Melissa808 If it were Revenge of the Nerds, I would have been taking pictures of the… um… mangoes.

  9. Melissa808
    Posted September 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

     @Bill Tobin There are more ag conferences coming up….next week is a big one at the Convention Center! Hope to see you there.

About Ed Morita

Ed Morita spent more than a decade working as a pastry chef at some of the country's premiere resorts and restaurants, including the Halekulani Hotel, The Greenbrier Resort & Spa in West Virginia, Bay Harbor Yacht Club in Michigan and Longhi’s Restaurant in Honolulu. After a near-career-ending injury forced him out of the kitchen, he embarked on a new career as a food writer, photographer and blogger for Metromix Honolulu and Nonstop Honolulu (, where he now writes the Baker's Hours blog. He's also entered the realm of politics, serving as the photography captain for the Abercrombie for Governor campaign in 2010, then becoming Gov. Abercrombie's official photographer until 2012 when he became the Social Media Director for the Mazie Hirono for U.S. Senate campaign. He's excited and honored to be the official blogger for the 2012 Hawaii Food & Wine Festival. You can follow Ed's adventures online at

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