Tonight I had a hot date with dragon fruit. I got it at H-Mart, a Korean grocery in Gaithersburg, MD, and I paid a $6.50 for it. For an individual piece of fruit it was pricey, yes. But for an eater who has, in a moment of weakness, paid $4-plus for one fresh passion fruit, the decision was not subject to budgetary consideration or rationale.
Besides, look at it. It's one of the freakiest looking fruits that you can eat. And you should eat it.
Dragon fruit is a variety of pitaya so it grows on cacti. It grows in arid places like Mexico, central, and south America - where it originated - Israel, Australia and all over southeast Asia. It is known to offer health benefits, too, such as vitamins A, B1, 2, and 3 along with come C for good measure. Anti-oxidants, too!
But that wasn't the point. The point was the flavor and the adventure. I grabbed my big knife and made one cut from top to bottom, unveiling seed-speckled, creamy-looking flesh. Some dragon fruit has red flesh. Mine was white and the satiny appearance was just a show. As I ran a big spoon between the flesh and the skin - the way you would an avocado - there was a nice crispness and plenty of juice.
This dragon fruit's texture had the crispness of an Asian pear or fresh watermelon with the added pop of tiny, crispy seeds - like a kiwi's. The flavor was light with a bright, clean citrus tone. One could argue that, flavor-wise, it is a cucumber's sweet and tropical analog. It was nice and sweet with just a bit of tang. I think it tasted like a pear-kiwi hybrid which is cool because I love those fruits individually, too.
Dragon fruit is easy to prepare and great fun to eat. You can probably find it at a nearby Asian or Latin grocery. It might be pricey, but the flavor and the experience are well worth it. Find someone to share it with and enjoy.