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Super Expensive Korean Fruit

February 12, 2015

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Guise, we’ve been wanting to do this video for ages, and now – finally – we got up the courage to do it. Actually, no. “Courage” isn’t the word. It’s more like we finally felt lax enough in our morals to buy fruit this expensive. Thirteen dollars for a pear better be worth it! So let’s hope enough people watch this video to justify buying all the fruit needed to make it :D

For starters, let me just say that the damned apple made me so mad. SO MAD! The lady who sold it to Leigh totally hustled her. We didn’t take a picture of it and bring it to the store in the end, so I still don’t know what a proper expensive apple tastes like, but if the rotten one tastes anything like the non-rotten one, it’s not worth the price at all. Damn. But that pear was really the most heavenly pear I ever had in my life, and I’d love to buy one again. Just not for $13. I’d spend…like, $8 for it. Maybe $9.

If you haven’t had a Korean pear, I’m not sure how to explain it. I never saw it in Canada, or anywhere else I’ve traveled to for that matter. And back in Canada, I hated pears. They’re so gritty and tough. You bite into a Canadian pear and it’s all fibrous. It’s like the celery of fruit. But Korean pears are GLORIOUS. Their consistency is just a little bit denser than a watermelon, so you don’t bite into one and get nothing but grit, and they’re sweet and juicy and lovely. I won’t eat a Canadian pear, but I can eat Korean pears daily. Having this $13 pear was a treat, because it tasted so much better than regular Korean pears when they’re in season. The cheap one we had was rather bland, but still good. It was just really weak in comparison.

I wonder if everyone in Korea has tried expensive versions of fruit like this. Not on a daily basis, of course, but for the holiday, right? Or is it like Haruhi from Ouran Host Club who really wants to try Otoro Sushi but never actually did? Seriously: when we saw the prices for those pears at Home Plus we were appalled. But surely people buy those boxes if they sell at a supermarket, right? It wouldn’t take up prime time real estate in the supermarket if it didn’t sell? Or do people just buy the cheaper boxes for Seollal and pass them off as more expensive ones, like for Christmas when you tell your parents you want a Nintento Wii and instead they get you a Funtendo Me? Korean people: let us know your stories. We won’t judge you. This is a safe place to share your deepest, darkest Seollal fruit secrets.

Also, I’m not sure if someone’s gonna mention this about our cheap knife, but, yes, the edge of it broke off. I don’t remember how. We’ve had that knife for a while, and it’s about as sharp as a pillow now, but it still gets the job done!

Otherwise, we’ve got some bloopers from this week’s video as well, so check em out if you want to see us be silly a lit bit more:

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Super Expensive Korean Fruit

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  1. In the US, the Texas Grapefruits you order from a store called Harry & David are divine! They are literally the size of the expensive korean pear if not bigger. Even if you hate grapefruit, you will love these special texas ruby red grapefruits. Pretty much any fruit from harry & david is delicious but you’re paying about as much as you’re paying there in Korea. Maybe $75 for a box of grapefruits. Used to receive them as business gifts.

    2 years ago
  2. In the UK, I can’t think of particular special fresh fruits but I’m sure at Christmas time here you could try and find special dried fruits. They are often given as gifts and such. But I wouldn’t know any particular brands because when I buy dried fruit, I buy the cheapest ones. Huzzah.

    2 years ago
  3. I study horticulture in Germany (actually, I´m on the last leg of my masters, you know, thesis writing time :(((), and I had one course where we had an apple taste test for over an hour! We had to rate 16 apple varieties for taste, texture, acidity, sweetness, etc. There were four old, four contemporary, and four future varieties. It was torture. I love apples but I couldn’t eat any for at least a month after. We had some saltines for palate cleansing in between, but after the sixth variety, I just couldn’t notice any big differences. After ten varieties, I went out to the warehouse to pet the guard dog, just to get some dog smell on my fingers to get rid of the apple one!
    The funny thing is, after the test they revealed which one is which, and I gave the highest points to the variety that I always bought and thought I liked (Braeburn). So that was nice to know :)

    2 years ago
  4. Didn’t you guys accidently buy a $30 mango way back in the day?

    2 years ago
  5. I see these expensive fruits in Koreatown. I almost feel like they MIGHT be cheaper? I’m going to research and then make someone buy them for me. I eat Korean pears all the time, but not the fancy pants one. As for fruits in America, I LOVE the Harry & David pears. I got them a few times as gifts and I have a hard time eating others.

    2 years ago
  6. Meg

    IDK for sure and someone please feel free if I’m wrong or just generalizing too much, but I’ve always kind of felt like fruit was treated as more of a treat in East Asian, Southeast Asian countries then here in the USA. I mean yea people here eat them and we love a good fruit but I don’t think we share the same love for fruit? That’s just what I’ve noticed and it can seriously just be where I live or IDK. But to me, because of this, it makes more sense to me that Korea and Japan and others might have those fruit for special occasions.

    I’ve HEARD of Harry and Davids but I have never met or seen anyone use them. And by “heard” I mean just un passing one day and someone had to explain it to me and I remember thinking “that’s something I would never do.” Now, more recently I have lived in Philadelphia and Arizona and I think someone commented below stated its big in the Northwest? I was born and lived for a long time in Chicago but that was a good….12 years ago? I had never even heard of them while there but maybe they got big since I’ve been gone?

    I feel like here fruit is only given as gifts when it’s dipped in chocolate or some kind of other sauce or it’s been made to look like flowers or something like edible arrangements lol.

    2 years ago
  7. Not quite the same…but Maui pineapples are so much better than the pineapples on the mainland. They are gold in color rather than green, and are tender and really sweet.

    2 years ago
    • I would love to eat fruit in Hawaii. LOVE TO! Now, if only I could find a way to get there…

      2 years ago
      • Amy

        Well Hawaii *is* on the way to North America…. ;)

        2 years ago
    • YES! So much so. Because Hawaii has a different soil composition, it yields much sweeter pineapples that aren’t so harsh for those of us sensitive to citrus.

      2 years ago
  8. I live in NYC…so we have access to the best NY State apples that are just awesome and I shop at the local Korean grocery, so I can buy those expensive Asian pears too (and the cheap ones too, which I use for cooking as well as eating).

    That said, now I understand why the H-Mart has boxed pears and apples which are humongous and are SO SO expensive. Yep, I totally get that now. They make special gift sets for people who are shipping gifts to family in Korea, so it all makes sense now…

    2 years ago
  9. Also, we have the same knee brace except somehow you got an awesome blue one instead of a plain black boring one! /jealous of the fancy

    2 years ago
  10. I guess the OMGSuperFancy fruit is akin to Harry & David’s stuff here in the States? I.e., their pears are to die for, the apples are tasty but nothing special, and you’re mostly paying for the brand? Though to be fair to H&D, for the price of those fruit boxes at the beginning of the video, you could get like 6 pears, 3 apples, and assorted nuts and treats in fancy boxes from them.

    Also, I’d kind of forgotten Asian pears were a thing and now I need to run across the street to the natural grocer to grab some. To me, they taste like a pear and an apple had a delicious fruit-baby.

    2 years ago
  11. Loving you knee brace Martina!

    2 years ago
  12. I think a few months ago, there were ads on the Skytrain for Korean fruit. I think it was pears… They were from an official Korean group… I really cant remember…

    2 years ago
  13. Here in Germany we definitely do not have such special fruits. Just the normal stuff, which is perfectly fine for me. ;)
    I have a question, though: are you sure the “cheap” apple and pear were not special at all? Because I would declare anyone crazy who wants to sell me a single apple or pear for 2,50$…

    2 years ago
    • Not special at all. Korean food prices are ridiculous. The only time you can find pears for under 2$ is when they’re half rotten on the discount rack. :/

      If you want more tropical fruits like mango, papaya or avocado, you may as well forget about it. Avacodo is usually 5$ for one TINY one and they’re the most subpar fruit that the importers could find.

      2 years ago
      • Wow, that sounds horrible…
        Is only everything healthy so expensive or also junk food?

        2 years ago
  14. Maybe being from New York has made me a bit spoiled, ’cause we grow the sweetest, juiciest, crispiest apples ye could ever want, in every variety, and they’re cheap as could be. Every Autumn, NY is an apple lover’s paradise.

    2 years ago
  15. I live in America (Washington state) and you can get asian pears in any grocery store. They are small, like approx. 1/3 the size of the pears you showed, kinda bland(I prefer the word subtle) in flavor and they run about $1.49 each. I love them and I would totally buy (on occasion) a $16 pear. That pear looked UH-MAZING!

    We don’t tend to have super expensive fruits in the stores here. Produce is pretty cheap all around. For instance, I can get all the avocados I want for about $0.50 each. I refuse to buy them if the stores try to charge more than $1.00.

    2 years ago
  16. Botany major here! A few things:

    -DON’T eat the square watermelon in Japan! They are unripe, and meant for looking at only.

    -Letting the fruit ripen on the tree longer attributes to how much sweeter and nicer they are. What most fruit companies do is pick them when they’re green, blast them with Ethylene gas to make them “ripen” off the vine/branch, and then ship them. That’s why they don’t taste as good as the other fruit.

    -Those apples look like Red Delicious apples, and if they are…they taste horrible, period. They were bred for beauty and uniformity, and along the way lost all of the taste that once made them famous. If possible, try getting a different variety of apple.

    -It’s a shame that the fruits have to be peeled, because that’s where quite a bit of the nutrients and aroma/flavor is held. Is it true that if you eat the peel, it’ll be bad for your health?

    -To all the people who live in Chile…reading your stories about produce breaks my heart. (Completely and utterly NOT about pity, but it certainly reinforces/changes my mind on a few big topics.)

    2 years ago
    • There is no red delicious in S. Korea.
      Most apples in S. Korea are a lot closer to fuji or gala if i had to choose.
      But i believe that they are actually a different strain.

      2 years ago
      • I didn’t know that, thank you! The reason why I wasn’t sure, is because most of the Red Delicious grown in the US is actually shipped to China and countries around them. On a closer look, it probably is a different strain. There are thousands of different kinds of apples, so it’s hard to tell!

        2 years ago
    • As for the peel, I’m not sure why everyone peels fruit here, and I don’t know how we bought into the habit as well. I do know that lots of Korean people eat grapes but spit out the skin as well, which I can’t bring myself to do. I love the grape skin! But, as for pears, I’ll try eating a slice with the skin on next time, and I’ll come back to report my findings :D

      2 years ago
      • …spitting the skin out from a grape seems very different to me. Huh. The more you learn. One thing to do if worried about pesticides on the skin, is to give the fruit a rinse/bath in distilled water. If they have a harder skin, and can take it, using a soft, clean brush to gently scrub the fruit will work too!

        2 years ago
      • I think Koreans peel all their fruit and veggies because of the pesticides. My Korean boyfriend freaked out when I tried eating an apple with the skin on, and advised me to peel all my produce.

        2 years ago
  17. There are fancy fruit baskets/packages that you can buy as gifts from companies such as Harry & Davidson. I’ve had the fruit we buy for my grandmother from those and they’re pretty good. They tend to be varieties that are more perishable so direct-to-consumer makes a whole lot more sense than retail.

    The fruit baskets they have in grocery stores are generally the tasteless GMO/heavily bred fruits that they sell normally. (I have nothing against GMOs; they just tend to select portability and stability over flavor. Tomatoes and apples, I’m looking at you.) You can buy heirloom fruits and veggies that have way more flavor, but these also don’t tend to be the pretty fruits. It’s a pretty even tradeoff here in the Midwest US between prettiness and flavor unless you buy organic fruit which is often both pretty and flavorful at high-end grocery stores (i.e. Whole Foods).

    2 years ago
  18. Wait, 2.50 an apple or a pear?? Thats… so expensive!! Here in Chile we are full on fruits and it’s really cheap… we export fruits to a lot of countries, even Korea but… only the nice fruits gets exported and we get the rejected ones… so saaaad lol. A friend works exporting fruits and she always complains about this.

    So, yeah, fruits is really cheap here but it’s not as good as the chilean fruit you find in your country. So not fair lol.

    2 years ago
  19. Hmmm……well, I guess that you have to eat the fruit that you have. I can see why some fruit in Asia/Korea is so expensive because of the intense labour to produce it. It’s true, they individually bag all the fruit and have to change the bags every time it rains and the actually let the fruit ripen longer on the trees so that they are sweeter (instead of picking them unripe and using ethylene gases to ripen them in a room or truck). The bags are to protect the fruit from pollution, not just the pesticides. This is why everyone peels their fruit in Asian countries, the peel accumulates too much pollution over the life of the fruit that it can actually make you quite sick. Korean pears are really tasty but to me, the peel is where most of the taste is at so it’s a shame that you have to peel them.

    In Canada there are tons of apples and pears and most of them are really tasty and you can even eat the peels. Even a super fancy grade AAA apple will only set you back $0.33 at the most and they don’t actually sell anything other than extra fancy grade in supermarkets here because they would be a penny per apple. It would be interesting to grow some Korean varieties of pear in Canada and see if they were better without the pollution or not. It’s too bad that you don’t like Canadian pears Simon, they are super sweet and tasty. However, the sweetest varieties go bad the fastest so it’s hard to get them except at Farmers’ Markets. The hard and fibrous pears are not tasty and usually unripe but they last longer on the shelves. I don’t know who eats them though. Maybe in a salad?

    Back when I was a kid, my grandparents wintered in Florida and their neighbour there had an orange tree. Once a year my Dad would visit them and drive back with some oranges from that tree and they were super gloriously sweet because they had actually ripened on the tree. Like mineola tangelos X100. If you can grow a fruit tree in your own yard, it’s totally worth it.

    Cyber_3 – now hungry for lunch.

    2 years ago
  20. On everyday life here in Chile I haven’t seen anything like pricey fruit for better quality. Most of the really good fruit is exported to other countries, and we get to eat those if it gets tampered a little bit. I don’t remember if it was at the end of last year that a huge quantity of cherries that were meant for overseas weren’t shipped because there was a small rain and, because of that, the fruit wasn’t strong enough (I don’t remember the correct concept for this) to be sent overseas, so instead they put it in stores to sell it to general public at a normal price (though exporters were not really happy xD). They were awesome ;D

    2 years ago
  21. I know in the U.S. When holidays like Christmas and maybe Easter they have special gift baskets of fruit available. They basically chose a variety of fruit and dress it up to look special. If you ask me though it’s just regular fruit that they sell and put into those gift baskets. Though sometimes it’s worth it just for the variety of fruit.

    2 years ago
  22. omg can I express how much I love fruits?!! I’m really fortunate that I live in California where it’s pretty easy to get all sorts of fruits. My mom goes to the Asian supermarkets and will pick up whatever is in season. We do tend to splurge a little bit when it comes to more “exotic” fruits like lychee and durian (I grew up with it, so I love it :P). We also tend to spend slightly more on fruits at the farmer’s market but it is pretty worth it. I can no longer eat apples from the supermarket, organic apples taste so much sweeter. Oh fruits just make me so happy LOL, some day I want to travel to eat all the fruits of the world!

    2 years ago
  23. A year or two ago Loblaws imported a specialty Japanese watermelon and sold it for 200 dollars. 200! And the difference was apparently not that big, the Toronto Star did a blind taste test https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wAApag7FR4

    2 years ago
  24. How about a 20000 won melon… about the size of the korean pear you showed.

    2 years ago
    • How?? Why?? O.o
      Doe they come with a nice gift wrap too? Including a sing-a-long tune based on the melon song?
      Do they contain a core made of gold?
      But anyhow, it is truly expensive…

      2 years ago
  25. Oh my god the bonus video made my day. I super wish someone would have caught Simon’s sneeze on video!

    2 years ago
  26. Okay, I live in California—but my mom and grandma are Japanese so we kinda integrate a lot of Japanese culture with American. So we frequently go to our Japanese market, and every year one of my family + obaasan go back to Japan, partly for travel and partly for visiting family in Fukuoka.

    Anyway, in Japan we have Nashi which is kinda like your Korean pear—but to be honest, I prefer the taste of Nashi. Even in the Japanese supermarkets (stateside) they sell the Korean and Japanese “pears” side by side, but I’m not sure if it’s the flavor or texture, but Nashi always wins out regardless of price.

    And yes, Japan definitely has gourmet fruit. One thing my baasan and mom had to clear up for me was that partly why the fruit was expensive is because its a desert or delicacy, and the whole family shares it—not at all like the Western idea of each person getting their own individual fruit. I guess if you bought a pie, you wouldn’t really eat it all yourself but would naturally share slices with others. Besides, Asian fruits are distinctively larger than Western ones I’ve found and thus it makes sense to share them—it’s like an entire meal.

    Sadly I’ve never gotten to have the really gourmet expensive fruits, as at least in my family stateside we just have traditional foods of the occasion and either it’s Western style gifts or envelopes of money.

    I think the American side of my family are with you in that they just can’t bring themselves to spend that much money, and my baasan who would can’t possibly eat it by herself. Besides, I don’t think the flown in fruit is quite the same as when I buy it in the markets back there.

    But hopefully my next trip I’ll splurge and buy something. Maybe those enormous grapes?

    ^___^

    2 years ago
  27. Went to the supermarket today and here in China they do the whole special Chun Jie fruit, and I’ll go by my fellow Shanghaier below who said they cost 200-300RMB (cause I didn’t check the prices) which is about $30-$50, so, not as bad as Korea. However, I’m much more interested in Chun Jie Oreos which are only 29RMB/$4 (which come in fancy tins and shopping bags – beacon of health right here)

    I already bought my New Year decorations for the dormitory so my roommates will have to put up with sheep all over the place for the next semester :P Unfortunately I can’t go back home during CNY but there will be celebrations around Shanghai so that’s something I’m looking forward to :3

    2 years ago
  28. You can get Korean pears in North Carolina, but they’re crazy expensive compared to local pears and come with what look like cute little white foam fishnet dresses on to keep them safe. Costco and Super G Mart are the only places that sell them around here though.

    2 years ago
  29. LOL!!! The bloopers..you guys are a riot! You should start an act: Meemers and the Debussies~
    I didn’t know that fruit was THAT much more expensive around Seollal in Korea. I was in Korea in the summer of 2013 and I really wanted to buy fruit. Fresh fruit in the summer, especially if you keep them chilled, make such a great snack or even meal on a hot summer day (especially in humidity level over 9000). I was shocked to see just how expensive fruit were on a normal day so yeah….Wow~
    In my country (I am from Greece) if we bring fruit as a gift it would be fruit that are in season mostly and especially if they come from our personal garden or a relative’s/friend’s garden when it’s a really good batch (serves as a treat AND showing off :P ). That is about as special or gourmet as it gets..

    2 years ago
  30. is it a holiday thing? like how red roses are $10/dz 51 weeks of the year then suddenly they are $80/dz 2/7-2/14. or is this year round?

    2 years ago
  31. IMO, those super expensive fruit gift sets are really just for the sake of being able to say something like “I got you these ridiculously overpriced fruits of paradise and you got me SPAM for Seollal???”
    We tend to get boxes of fruit and whatnot sent to our house during this month, so I’ve tasted the expensive apples and pears, but honestly, they’re not worth the money.
    I’m just waiting for the day I will be able to afford buying cherries in Korea. Sniff.

    Also, Martina, your hair looks STUNNING.

    2 years ago
  32. Since I am currently in Shanghai, I can somewhat relate to today’s topic.

    Yes, China does this too. I was out buying food, and saw these humongous boxes of like 8 apples or pears in nice red boxes, with ribbons. The price however… 200 -300 RMB. Now, relate this to normal everyday fruit: a bunch of apples or pears, 10-15 RMB. HUGE difference.

    Sadly, I cannot do this fruit taste because I am allergic to apples and pears, and the only way for me to consume them are by cooking them… which kind of ruins the texture and flavour. I would have loved to make a taste test myself.

    Ps: tried that salt beverage you guys reviewed from the Chinese food stores… and I have to agree… it did not taste like a lot of salt, but a diabetes worst nightmare… holy sugarlevel!!!

    2 years ago
  33. I am so lucky that I live in apple paradise. Yay Poland! They are cheap, there is variety of types, even more expensive kinds are quite cheap. I don’t think we don’t have gourmet fruit culture, but I’ve seen some fruit baskets. But they have more tropical stuff that like pineapples, dragon fruits, pomegranates. They are not super expensive though. And sometimes near christmas or valentines day you can buy an apple with writing like “merry christmas” or “i love u” but they are not gourmet or something.
    And for 13$ I could buy sooooo many apples that I could eat the for at least a week

    Apples <3
    (ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧!

    2 years ago
  34. Never seen any “gift fruit” in Norway. But there are two kinds of pear. One of them is REAAAAALLY juicy. I forgot how juicy they were, so I brought one for breakfast at the bus. I ended up with a juicy mess… The other kind of pear is kind of dry and just… nah.

    2 years ago
  35. I’m from the Netherlands and we don’t have special gift fruit but the normal fruit in korea is already quite exspensive to me, over here you can get about 4 normal apples or 1kg of small apples for 3 dollars and I just wanna say that I’ve never seen a pear of that shape and size, it’s amazing, is it like a special korean pear or something?

    2 years ago
    • yup, they are Korean pears. I actually found some in a toko once, somewhere in Utrecht

      2 years ago
    • o wow, I found my glasses and so I was able to read the post and it IS a korean pear, awesome!

      2 years ago
  36. And suddenly I need pears. Thanks so much guy -_-

    2 years ago
  37. I’ve never seen gourmet fruit! I’ve seen and purchased organic fruit, but I’ve never laid eyes on this magical fruit you speak of. I’m from Wisconsin and Bayfield, Wi (which is northern Wisconsin’s Apple Capital) is my neighbor and they don’t even have zillion dollar apples! Is this strictly a Korean thing?

    P.s. My picture is not showing up in my…picture box…thing.

    2 years ago
  38. I’m in China right now and we’ve got expensive fruit LEAKING OUT OUR EARS, MAN! But seriously. I almost unknowingly bought some today and then I looked at the price and was like, OH, HELL NO! I did take a picture of some Chinese apples that have New Year’s greetings on them and I tagged you guise on Instagram. :p

    2 years ago
  39. I’m actually surprised the expensive pear tasted better, I’d thought it was just a marketing ploy to get people to buy the expensive fruit.
    I live in Jamaica, and we don’t have a gourmet fruit culture here, that’s something I alway found interesting when I watched Korean dramas and saw people getting fruit baskets as gifts. Fruits and vegetables grow easily here, I’m not even joking when I say almost every house with a yard has multiple fruit trees and vegetables plants. The house I grew up in had a small yard and we had peppers, bananas, pineapples, mangos, limes, pomegranates, coconuts, cherries…and that’s just what I remember. It wasn’t a lot of land either, maybe a 1/4 or an 1/8 of an acre of yard space.
    I think most of the fruit I eat is organic, but more recently farmers are using sprays to combat pests, and more fruit is being imported from other countries. I personally prefer local fruit, but for things like berries or kiwis I have to buy the imported stuff. I’d love to try that pear!

    2 years ago
    • It’s the same in Texas. Fruit grows easily here and we had pomegranate trees, a fig tree and a pecan tree in my yard. To this day I can not buy these fruits from stores, because they taste bland and anemic in comparison.

      2 years ago
  40. I need a Korean pear now I can taste it just from watching this videoooooo

    2 years ago