Shi Jia – a Beauty

Shi jia

Shi jia belongs to the type of fruits one spends more time looking at it than eating.

I searched Google and the Wikipedia for a common English name but I only got this: Annona squamosa.

In Chinese, the name is quite simple. It came from the word, Śākyamuni, the Buddha. Because the fruit looks like Buddha’s hair, we call it “Sakya” – that’s how shi jia sounds in Chinese.

The fruit seller said I should pick one that is soft to touch if I wanted to eat it today.

The heavier it is, the juicier it is.

The brown spots don’t matter, that’s where the fruit touched another one or the tree trunk.

Last but not least, he put two next to each other and said, “The bigger the scale the better it is.” After weighing several of them and teaching me all these, he handed me this one and said, “You cannot do wrong. All of them are sweet. Some think they are too sweet.”


“How to eat it? Easy! Just open it and eat the inside. Ai ya, why that much trouble! No knife, hands, your hands!” The man held the fruit in his hands and showed me how to use the thumb to poke in from the top and open it, as if he was opening a book.

But I still used a knife at home.

The inside is pure white, big black seeds wrapped inside the cotton-like flesh.

The texture is like a watery ripe banana, too mushy for me. It is VERY sweet, too sweet for me.

Next time I’ll try a pineapple shi jia. The vendor said, “Come back next time when they are ready. It is a hybrid of shi jia and pineapple, if you think this one is too sweet for you.”

Take out the stem, scoop the content, spit the seeds. Easy.

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