14 Strange Fruits and Vegetables You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

Robert Sietsema hunts NYC's ethnic markets and farm stands for some unusual produce. How many have you tried?


New York City can boast a plethora of ethnic markets, where the number of unfamiliar fruits and vegetables can be bewildering. Sometimes the vegetables themselves are scary, such as the bitter melon, whose ridges make this cucurbit look like it has some skin disease. Other selections—like the durian—have properties you’d never expect from the way they look. In this case, the fruit is extremely stinky, and I mean extremely.

Remember that we also have unusual fruits and veggies at farmers’ markets, and in food stores that appeal to gourmets, challenging you to be the first in your dinner club to break out a botanical product that no one else has ever heard of. Here are a few of the vegetables and fruits that have challenged me lately. How many have you eaten before?

All text and photos by Robert Sietsema (@robertsietsema)

Click to start the list
  • Marvin Chardonnay

    lychee ? for real ? :D

    • Andrew

      Yeah, middle America has it rough, being without tropical fruits and all.

  • Shrewd Cat

    Live In Australia- my dad once planted snake beans- and they are awful. Raddichio is similarly bitter and awful. Fell in love with tinned jackfruit but can’t find it any more. Try rambutan- it’s like a lychee but tastes better.

  • Chris W.

    Most of these are common if you’re from Asia.

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