Image via Sandy Austin's Flickr People always ask me what I like to do in Tokyo. What's fun? What's cool. Well here's my dirty secret. Most nights, I sit in my parents' living room and watch silly game shows while drinking green tea and eating persimmon.
Persimmon is called kaki in Japanese, and it has been constantly battling against mangoes for first place on my list of favorite fruits. Kaki is a prominent part of everyday life in Japan — there's even an adjective almost exclusively used to describe the taste of a bitter persimmon, shibui. (The only other time it's used is to describe older men with graying hair who are nonetheless hot, like George Clooney.) China, Japan, and Korea are the top three producers of persimmon in the world. The Chinese believe that the fruit helps to regulate energy flow. It's also known to cure digestive problems, and it's a great source of B and C vitamins. In Korea, some people use dried persimmons to make a traditional fruit punch-like drink called Sujeonggwa. It's supposedly great with soju, too! In the US, I see a lot of restaurants use cooked fuyu persimmon around this time of the year to supplement salads and meats, but I prefer to eat it raw once its blood orange skin has turned ever slightly soft. Every installment of Taste Test will explore recipes, the science, and some history behind a specific food item.