Dragon Fruits

Aug 2 2013
Written by NYU Shanghai

What is this beautiful looking thing?

(Photo Via: Eat Cook Live)

It is a fruit called “pitaya,” which is more commonly known as dragon fruit! Some of you guys might have encountered this somewhere tropical because it is a popular tropical fruit along with mangos, papayas, guavas, etc.

I used to live in the Philippines for five years so I got to eat lots and lots of tropical fruits, including dragon fruits. However, after leaving the Philippines, I kind of forgot about these yummy fruits. But I started to eat A LOT of them again since I’ve been here in Shanghai.

So what exactly is it?

Its Chinese name is huo long guo (火龙果). They are native to Central and South America. Currently, they are also cultivated in East Asian and Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia (especially in eastern Java), Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Jeju Island in South Korea, Okinawa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and, more recently, Bangladesh. They are also found in Hawaii, Israel, Palestine, Northern Australia, Southern China, and in Cyprus.

This is how a dragon fruit looks when chopped in half.

With all those small black seeds, it kind of looks like a kiwi, huh? Even though the skin looks very tough, it is actually really soft! Yum!

What does it taste like?

The taste of dragon fruit flesh is quite mild compared to its vibrant exterior. It’s very brand, like a melon or kiwi, with a mild sweetness to it.

I like to chop dragon fruits to small pieces and pour yogurt all over them to eat in the morning. Its relatively bland taste goes well with sweet yogurt, I think. And for some reason, dragon fruit yogurt parfait tastes so fresh in the morning! I love it so much!

Is it good for you?

YES, DEFINITELY!

Particularly red-skinned dragon fruits are a good source of Vitamin C.
Dragon fruits are rich in fiber and minerals, notably phosphorus and calcium.
They are also very rich in antioxidants.
In Taiwan, diabetics use the fruit as a substitute for rice and dietary fiber.
It is very rich in fiber so they are good for people with constipation issues.

Why is it so expensive?

I wanted to continue my habit of eating dragon fruits and yogurt for breakfast after I go back home to Korea, but dragon fruits are ridiculously expensive in Korea! A dragon fruit costs approximately 7 USD ...

In Shanghai, dragon fruits are only RMB 17 (about 2.7 USD) for three dragon fruits, and you can find them everywhere. So when you are in Shanghai, eat lots of dragon fruits and fill your daily vitamin needs!


Hi. My name is Stacy and I spent a semester in NYU in Shanghai. love travelling. I am in love with Yoga. I love eating Sushi. When I am stressed, I put a spoonful of Wasabi on a White Tuna Sushi. I love my family and friends. And I love writing about bits and pieces about my sometimes exciting and sometimes tedious life. Hope you all enjoy Shanghai and I know y'all have tons of exciting days ahead.