I had a great kickoff to my birthmonth.

On the weekend I went to my favourite store in the world to buy myself something special: the grocery store.

I had just come back from a long, sweaty run so I was thinking of getting something along the lines of one of those tiny cakes they sell at Metro. But when I looked at them, they didn’t look that great (my weakness is more for salty snacks). So I took a walk through the fruit isle instead.

Every time I go shopping I always stare lustfully at the weird fruits and vegetables, but I never know how to pick or prepare them. So I chicken out and tell myself I’ll look it up when I get home and buy it next time. Then I never do. So this time I thought, what the hell. I’m buying myself a weird and expensive fruit.

I looked at the star fruit and a few unusual vegetables before settling on a dragon fruit. I had heard of dragon fruit before, but I had never tasted one. I didn’t know how to pick it so I just found one that looked good to me and walked to the checkout. I then had to wait there for five minutes while the cashier tried to figure out what I was trying to purchase.

Cashier – What is this?

Me – A dragon fruit.

Cashier – (squints her eyes and stares at me like I’m a liar)

Cashier – (yelling across the room to a manager) Hey! What is this?

Manager – A dragon fruit!

Cashier – (confused look)

Manager – I don’t know what the code is.

Great. I’ve become one of those annoying people that hold up the entire line.

The cashier flipped through some paperwork rather abruptly and sighed. She might have been mad at me.

She punched in a few numbers and finally found the code that NOBODY uses. It suddenly dawned on me that they must sell dragon fruit much cheaper elsewhere, and I was the only idiot buying it at Metro. But I was happy with my purchase.

Weird? Check.

Expensive? Check.

I went home and googled “dragon fruit.” I learned that the proper word for dragon fruit is actually pitaya.

It’s native to Central America, which made me feel stupid because I’m FROM there and I’ve never eaten this. It’s also cultivated in a lot of Asian countries, which sucks because there was an Asian grocery store right next to the Metro.

The coolest thing about this fruit by far is the fact that it grows on a cactus. I didn’t know ANYTHING could grow on a cactus.

A few more interesting facts:

  • Pitaya is very low in calories (30-50 cal/100 grams)
  • In Taiwan, diabetics use this fruit as a food substitute for rice and as a source of dietary fibre.
  • Dragon fruit supposedly lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Eaten regularly, this fruit is credited with alleviating chronic respiratory tract ailments.

Here’s the view inside my dragon:

I thought it tasted pretty good. It’s like a kiwi in texture, but tastes sweeter. And it’s fun to eat with a spoon.

After that it makes a nice hat.

This is my stuffed Mangabey. Real mangabeys are unfortunately endangered, but I named my stuffed one Sorullo after this song.