What most people in America probably don’t know is that farming is invaluable. They produce the necessary vegetables and fruits that are necessary for our diets. Plus they are also affordable which is also a huge plus. You get to buy a food item that can help fill you up and it also doesn’t strain your budget! What we have is truly a luxury because other countries don’t have the ability to buy cheap produce.
Why is that the case you may be wondering? Well that is because they simply don’t have enough fertile land or the right climate to continuously produce large amounts of produce. So due to simple economics, they become much more expensive to purchase in these countries. Which is why they resort to importing fruit from other countries but that doesn’t completely deal with the problem. Sometimes the price might be expensive enough where it discourages people from purchasing a necessity for their health.
So how does this apply to Korea? Sadly they are also one of the countries that have a bit of a difficulty producing large amounts of fruits and vegetables. But what they do produce is simply delicious. Which is what I want to talk about in this article that you are reading! I will only be focusing on the fruits that you can find in Korea because this article will be neverending if I also talk about vegetables. I hope you are ready to be informed about these juicy delights!
1. Asian Pear
The first fruit on this list is a truly special one. It may not seem that way because you might think it is just an ordinary pear. But in actuality this pear is much more flexible. You can eat this pear by itself which is delicious. But what makes this flexible is that it is used to make the marinade for some very popular dishes in Korea like Bulgogi. Of course you can just use a regular pear for the marinade but it wouldn’t be the same.
That is because the quality of the asian pear is much greater than a normal pear in America. Remember how I said that producing fruit in a country like Korea is much more difficult? Well thanks to that difficulty, it means that the farmers have to put much more care into producing the fruit. This leads to a better quality pear! Definitely something you should buy if you ever decide to come to Korea.
2. Fuji Apple
A classic fruit that everyone in the world should know about. It provides a sweet flavor which will surely be refreshing to whoever eats it. Furthermore the apples go well with ice cream when they are caramelized or if that doesn’t suit your taste, then you can make a good dessert with this fruit. A simple example that I can think of right now is that you can make a delicious apple pie. The only downside to this fruit is again they are expensive due to the complex farming method.
You need to make sure that these fruits are placed in an area where it gets “200 to 400 chill hours” (gardeningknowhow). This becomes even more problematic in a place like Korea because they have few suitable places to grow apples. So adding an additional restriction will cause headaches for all of the farmers there. Thus the price hike that you will surely see if you go to Korea. But I strongly believe that you will find the price to be well worth it.
Another fruit that is absolutely delicious to eat with the skin on or peeled. However you eat it will be entirely up to your preferences. An overall simple fruit in America but it has a lot more meaning if you look at it from another country’s perspective. The persimmon is special in the sense that it plays a heavy role in Korean tradition. The wood of the persimmon is used for “furniture and carving, the leaves for tea and the unripe fruits for dying clothes” (bburikitchen). A lot more flexible than the Asian pear on my list but it requires two major things from the person interested in doing all of this.
Can you guess what that requirement is? If you guess skill and knowledge then you would be correct! Everything mentioned so far is quite invaluable if you consider that you can get all of that from growing a persimmon. But that is only if you know how to do it and you have the skill to execute the process. Still, I think there is enough value in this fruit for you to give it a try!
4. Kyoho Grapes
Essentially these are just very large grapes if you are purely judging from appearance. But there is a pretty major difference between these grapes and the grapes we see in America. The grapes in America can be eaten with the skin on or the skin off. That is because the taste will still be great. That isn’t the case with Kyoho grapes because it requires a very specific step if you want to eat them at their best in Korea.
What you want to do with Kyoho grapes is to peel off the skin. This might seem like an impossible task but you don’t need to worry because they have a “slip-skin” (specialtyproduce). This essentially means that you can take the skin apart without really damaging the fruit. Furthermore the reason as to why you want to do this is because the “skin can be bitter” (specialtyproduce). Which is why in Korea the skin is often removed. Really delicious when eaten as intended!
5. Oriental Melon
Oriental melon is easily the most unique fruit in this entire list because at first glance you might not even know what this is. In fact you might even be surprised to learn that this is a melon if you are in a country like America. This is because we are mostly familiar with melons that have a red inside and have a lot of seeds in the flesh. But this melon is white and all of the seeds are centered in the middle of the fruit.
In terms of taste it has a flavor that is quite similar to a “pear or honeydew melon” (specialtyproduce). Last thing to note about this particular product is that it is arguably the most plentiful. That is because Korea has a place that has the perfect melon growing climate and the same can not be said for the other fruits. This place is called the seongu country and is also a perfect place to visit to learn more about the Korean living style.
Essentially this product is another variety of the mandarin which we are all familiar about. The difference is that this product is “incredibly sweet, seedless, huge, and has a top-knot” (sumocitrus). It definitely is more expensive than a regular mandarin as well but the huge size will just add value. This product originally came from Japan and has become a staple product in the Korean market.
Another extremely popular fruit in the Korean household but not for the reason you might be thinking. It isn’t popular as a simple fruit but is more popular as a very special drink called “yuja tea” (mykoreankitchen). It is sweet, refreshing, and is basically perfect for almost any situation that you can think of. The only downside is that you can’t really find this product in a country like America due to a very important restriction.
There is a concern that American growers would be susceptible to any “diseases that are found in Asian groves” (nytimes). This means that you can not find any yuzu in America because they choose not to import it. So really your only chance to try out this fruit will be in a country like Korea. This is a double shame because I believe that you will absolutely fall in love with this fruit. Which means that you will be left with a craving that you cannot satisfy once you come back to America or any other country that has banned yuzu.
Kumquats are commonly grown in a place called “JeJu island which is commonly called the Korean version of Hawaii '' (muchadoaboutlisa). They are tiny but delicious and can be eaten with the skin on or the skin off. Appearance wise they look very similar to an orange. So much so that I wouldn’t blame you for mistaking a kumquat with an orange. Essentially this is a perfect snack for people who want something healthy.
9. Satsuma Mandarin
This fruit is one that you will most likely never have a problem finding due to how important it is to the citrus economy in Korea. It accounts for “27% of the revenue of the citrus industry” (tridge). This is because producing these oranges has been perfected in Korea and that can be quite invaluable to the farming industry. This is because again farming in Korea is hard due to not having the right land or the right climate for certain fruits.
So this fruit becomes invaluable for “having a stable production” (tridge). What does this mean about the taste though? Well it means that the taste and quality of whatever Satsuma Mandarin that you will find should always be top notch. That is unless you let the Mandarin rot which should be an obvious point. Delicious as a fruit and refreshing as a drink, it definitely deserves full points in my book.
It’s the season of love when it comes to strawberries. They may not seem like anything special at first because you know how it tastes. In fact you may have eaten strawberries so much, you may have found the flavor to be unremarkable. But Korean strawberries are a little more special because they are used as gifts. In fact it is common for “couples to exchange Korean strawberries as gifts on Valentine’s Day” (Korea).
The romantic value in the Korean strawberries is enough by itself for me to encourage you to buy them. That is because you get to experience a Korean tradition and I believe that the experience is invaluable. Life experience is something that you can’t put a price tag on.
You and I know what peaches are because we have seen them a lot in your local grocery store. Personally I find them better than something like an apple because I found them to be sweeter and overall tastier. They can be further enhanced if you use them in something like a complex or simple dessert. What you may not know is that they have a very significant meaning in Korean culture. They are actually seen as the “fruit of happiness, longevity, riches and honor” (halegroves). Definitely something we all desperately need after the horrible experiences from 2020.
12. Dragon Fruit
Another very familiar fruit to people who live in an Asian household or to people who love to try new things. In terms of appearance it looks very exotic which causes you to have a high expectation about the flavor. This is luckily satisfied because the dragon fruit certainly has the taste to match the appearance. It is incredibly sweet and goes down incredibly easy which leaves you satisfied. Definitely delicious when you try them out in Korea and you don’t have to worry about it. This is because this product is easily obtainable in most countries. Just an overall perfect fruit!
Some people may find this list to be quite unremarkable due to the fact that you are probably familiar with most of these fruits. But that is okay because a lot of the fruits in Korea are imported which means that a lot of the fruit there isn’t really unique. The important thing to take away from this guide is the meaning and the traditional value that these fruits have. Hopefully you became a more well informed reader at the end of this and I hope you enjoy your stay in Korea!