Tuesday, June 08, 2021


A few months ago a friend mentioned the fruit trees in his garden, and somebody asked if those things on the branches were edible. Indeed they are. Loquats (蘆橘 'lou gwat'; "reed tangerine"), known as pipa (枇杷) in modern Chinese, are very pleasant, and beneficial to the throat. Commonly used in Chinese cough syrups and medicated lozenges.

There are famous tonics for opera singers for sale, also beneficial to croupy children and wheezing geezers. Both of which are important demographics, I would imagine.
I am not a Cantonese Opera singer, nor a croupy infant or hacking geezer. But one of the well-known bottles of soothing liquid is something I do purchase, because a jigger mixed with hot water is very pleasant, and I often buy a tin of the lozenges because I like it as candy. Good for the mouth after smoking all day. One can find the fruit fresh in Chinatown -- there are trees in backyards nearby -- but they bruise and discolour easily, so I would imagine the Caucasians avoid them, being neurotically pointless perfectionists in the main and thoroughly indoctrinated by the American food industry to sneer at blemishes. Hence, for instance, the perfect bananas (which are starchy and unripe), oranges (tasteless), and tomatoes (insipid) that they prefer.
I doubt that many people bend down to smell the supermarket fruits.
Really, one should do that. Sometimes the smell is heady.
Something particularly sweet can be found.
But only if the nose is in play.

The smell of loquats is heady, intoxicating.
And better from the bruised exemplars.

I seem to remember street vendors selling their garden harvests last week in Chinatown.
While shopping today I'll look for them. I have a yen for loquats.

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