“How much are the apples?” I held the fruits in my hands, so sure they are a kind of Taiwan apple that happened to be oval. The skin is of the same green as a Granny Smith, it has the same sheen even.
“They are not apples,” smiled the woman back, from whom I buy veggies and fruits every morning, “They are dates.”
Dates? I have eaten buckets of fresh dates growing up, both the green and red kinds, all are of the size close to pecans. Never have I seen dates the size of a baseball!
But she assured me these are dates. They are good, she said. I believe her, because she said the same thing about the purple leaves of yam plants, a type of fern that curls at the tip, and the taro root that weighs 3 lbs each. I have not had these before coming to Taiwan. She taught me how to cook them. She has been always right.
She is right about the dates, too. They are firm, just like the Granny Smiths, but much sweeter. They have a pointy pit in the center. They taste nothing like Granny Smith though, nor do they have the distinct flavor of the Chinese dates I know of. But you have to have these when you are in town. They are not only refreshing to the palate, but they are the kind of fruits that makes one happy by just looking at them, green, shiny, healthy.