There are a lot of fruit that I've had here for the first time and then there are the ones that I've had back home and didn't like because well, eating tropical fruit in a decidedly non-tropical location is a bit of a gamble.
I tried a real mango for the first time in 2007 after having one in 2000ish and thinking they were gross. One thing I will do is re-try foods and I'll try new foods especially at the urging of someone like Glen who knows my tastes so well. Guess what? Mangoes are actually my favourite fruit now! Funny how that happens!
Anyway, this post is actually about the mighty papaya or pawpaw as it's called here (after doing some research, papayas and pawpaws are actually different fruit all together. What makes things confusing -or fun- is that Australians actually call papayas pawpaw even though they aren't actually pawpaw. See what I mean?).
I've had papaya before back home and I've had dried papaya which I don't mind at all. Now that I think about it, I've also had papaya in canned tropical fruit mix. Yuck again. The "fresh" papaya I had back home was could probably be considered in the same category as my first mango tasting. Definitely inedible.
I went into this little experiment thinking it might be the case of the mango. You know what? Not so much. First off, papayas have a very distinct smell. I was trying to decide what it was and it almost smells... Sour? Like garbage? Baby vomit? Anyway, it has a gross smell to start with and it's actually one that is mixed with a nice smell so you think "Oh! That smells so nice... Wait! Ew! What's that other smell?!?!"
As for taste... It kind of has a plain taste with a hint of a taste that could be awesome. It's sort of firm yet soft like a banana with a little bit of juiciness thrown in... I almost thought while I was eating it that it was a lot like eating flavoured dessert tofu. The texture (and a bit of the taste) was quite similar once you chewed it a little. I did notice too that it started tasting better the more you ate.
I think the papaya might be one of those fruits that should be enjoyed with others - like in a fruit salad or maybe a smoothie... Maybe even used in a savory dish.
So now I'm wondering if I have the papaya's profile all wrong? Have I had the misfortune of always buying a terrible one or is it really just one of those "meh" fruits? Or maybe it's sort of like cilantro where certain people taste it differently and either love it or hate it?
(All this talk of trying new fruit - and actually getting around to photographing it as I'm trying it - reminds me a lot of Maggie Mason's Mighty List and trying 1,000 fruits)