I absolutely love renbu (also known as wax janbu or wax apples) — a light, sweet and crisp fruit that grows mainly in tropical regions. It is an underrated fruit that I think the world ought to know about (not that I expect the world to be searching for posts on tropical fruit) so I thought it deserved its own space.
There are fruit stalls everywhere in Taiwan and I was delighted to find heaps of renbu in Taipei, even though it’s not exactly the season for them. I bought renbu from practically every stall that I came across and even brought some on the plane for the long haul home. As a child, we often visited the countryside in summer and eat renbu straight off the trees. Of course the ones in the city are not as fresh as the ones from my childhood but they were still tasty enough!
There were a few bad apples, so to speak, but I managed to find some tasty renbu — the best batch being on our last day in Taipei, purchased from a lady selling fruit without a license in a no-sell zone.
Being the clueless half-foreigner that I am, I was confused as to why, after cutting up our fruit, she suddenly ran off with her cart without even letting us pay. I followed suit, as my father had run after her, as well, presumably because he knew that I would be sad without my renbu. But I later learned that it wasn’t so much for me, but out of compassion for the fruit lady. Desperate times call for desperate measures and he wasn’t going to let the police stand in the way of helping her make a few quid!
If you ever have a chance to travel to Taiwan, especially in summer, do give these gems a try!