Dragon eyes look like large clusters of grapes but have thick skins and grow on big branched trees. Oh, and yes, in someone’s fanciful imagination, they do look like golden dragons’ eyes. The Chinese name is longan, and they are a popular fruit with the Chinese and Vietnamese in
Growing up on Oahu, I lived with my family in a little apartment hunkered below
three large dragon eye trees and each year, during the night, I would hear
thump thump thump as the fruits would fall on the rooftop. Hawaii
|Dragon eye fruits at the farmers market.|
|Dragon eyes from Mana Foods.|
|Cross section of a dragon eye fruit... |
looks kind of like lychee (or an eyeball) inside.
Just yesterday I bought some more dragon eyes at a Kahului farmer’s market. They looked beautiful, but they were not as sweet and flavorful as the scruffy looking ones I got from Mana. They weren’t bad, they just weren’t eye-poppingly good. Like the difference between a fresh, tree-ripened peach and a so-so peach shipped cross country. Maybe I enjoy the flavor of slightly overripe fruit. Or maybe it all depends on the tree and the soil, which is what I keep learning over and over from gardening and at the Maui Farmers Union. The more nutritious the soil, the sweeter the fruit.