You may vaguely recall Jessica Chastain’s 2016 appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, in which she wasn’t the star of the show. Instead, that honor goes to the large durian fruit she brought with her, which Jimmy described as being “on the line between horrible and delicious.”
Jessica was neither the first nor the last to indulge in this trend of exploring exotic fruits, though much of this is done in trendy restaurants rather than on live TV.
To the best of my recollection, the current iteration of this trend began with the brief (though compelling) craze for “miracle berries,” those strange fruits that temporarily inhibit your ability to taste sourness or bitterness. The yearning for exotic flavor experiences has since blossomed out into increasingly familiar options such as Buddha’s hand (the many-fingered citrus fruit), jackfruit, chayote, starfruit, and pomelo. As with most exotic trends, though, time and familiarity has brought these from the realm of the exciting almost to the realm of the mundane.
We expect even more exotic fruits to start showing up in the coming months as chefs grow bored with the current rotation. Keep your eyes open for fruits you may never have heard of, such as jabuticaba (a dark, spherical Brazilian fruit that grows directly on the trunks of trees), feijoa (a pineapple-flavored guava native to South America that’s prolific in some parts of the United States, but isn’t yet consistently recognized for its flavor), and the Asian salak or “snake fruit” (so named for its scaly-looking skin).