I am constantly seeing and trying things I have never been exposed to before. Funnily enough, while I have not seen or tried many of the "common" Middle Eastern, Indian, or Far Eastern cuisine; most people I work with from these countries know all about "common" American foods, fruits, & vegetables. Also at the grocery store; I have never seen nor heard of half of the fruits and vegetables and would have no clue how to cook or what to do with them either. So it is pretty cool for me when my non-western coworkers are kind enough to give me things to try. Actually, the Lebanese guys I sit with at lunch usually force their food on me...I will get up to get a napkin or something and magically some random food will be left where I am sitting and then they will all chant, "Yalla, yalla! Try it, try it!" ("yalla, yalla" literally means "quickly, quickly" but the expression roughly translates to "let's get it done!" or "let's go!")
Today at lunch was no exception. One of my Lebanese coworkers had brought in a bunch of fruit that was grown at his home in Lebanon. Of course it was all passed down to me to sample, learn the names of, and consequently butcher their language as I try to repeat it. (Teaching me Arabic words is another source of entertainment for them, as my pronunciations are absolutely brutal and they find it hilarious.)
Here is what I tried...apparently all of these fruits are really nice with a cold Heineken and some salt. Or so I am told.
Janerek most resembles an under-ripe plum in my opinion. It is soft enough to bite, but more crisp than a ripe plum and also more tart. You are supposed to have it with a little bit of salt on each bite. (and "Kimberly, it is so perfect with a beer")
This is actually an almond, but with its outer shell and before it hits full maturity. You are supposed to eat the full thing, dipped in salt, and again chased with a beer. (Got to love these Lebanese guys. Can you tell we are living in a dry country...everything tastes better with a beer! ha.)
This was my favorite of the three. The english word for this fruit is Loquat, they are originally from Japan and there are farms that grow them in California. Although I personally have never seen or heard of them before. It was sweet and had a really nice texture sort of similiar to a papaya or mango, but does not taste like either. This one does not require salt but of course, would be enhanced by a Heineken.
So now I think I am going to have to go home and grab a beer and test their claims... Yalla, yalla!