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Bharat Bazaar Part 2: Gift of the Jackfruit
Okay so we all know of my love for Bharat Bazaar right? Well my love just got a little deeper and I thought y'all should know about it. A few days ago I went to Bharat for lunch and got three dishes I knew I loved: lentils, chickpeas and vegetable balls (like meatballs but not). But I noticed everyone in front of me was ordering something called “jackfruit.” Jack what? Fruit? Is it sweet? Is it sweet and savory all at once? Is it pungent? It looked good but its foreign-ness scared me. Everyone in line kept talking about it though-- how delicious and amazing it is-- and I felt a little bad for not venturing out on a limb and getting it too. Next time, I thought, next time.
Well my friends, next time turned out to be yesterday. I went back to Bharat and there was the jackfruit, in all its glory, staring me in the face. I sucked it up and ordered a helping. The first bite involved a seed of some kind, a rather pungent seed, and I wondered if I'd made a terrible mistake. I cleared my palette with a sip of chai tea and a bite of saffron rice. I couldn’t wait another second I had to go back to jack and try another bite. The verdict? Bite number two was delicious! Fragrant, spicy, robust and not sweet at all. Oh my god, I thought, I'm in love with Mr. Jack Fruit. And we're getting married. Like, tomorrow.
Okay, I know what you are thinking. Stop professing your love, Ashleigh, and tell us what a jackfruit is! Well, according to the scholarly resource that is known as Wikipedia, it is a large, long fruit (about 12 inches long) with a mildly sweet flavor. It is grown in South/Southeast Asia, as well as Eastern Africa, Brazil, and even Jamaica. Apparently it is very "significant" to Indian culture and has been cultivated for over 3000 years! What an interesting factoid. Also, it's meat and seeds are yellow and it tastes like a mild pineapple.
To me, jack didn't taste sweet at all or anything like a pineapple. To me it had the texture of an artichoke heart-- tender but meaty-- and a very smooth, mild flavor. Of course, it was smothered in good spices, so maybe they overpowered the fruit's natural sweetness. I don't know, but I do know that I am in love with it. It was so tasty that I haven't been able to stop thinking about it for the past 24 hours. Maybe it as some addictive chemical in it that makes people obsess over it. Or maybe it really is that good. See for yourself! Go to Bharat!
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