Wax Apples Come to Temple City, Pasadena Farmers Markets_Screenshot (415)Farmers Markets: Wax apples, popular in Taiwan, are uncommon in Southern California. But now Lung Ke Wu is growing and selling them here.

In a hardscrabble district of South El Monte, near a decommissioned missile site, tucked away behind a warehouse filled with Chinese sunglasses, lies a secret orchard bearing a rare and mysterious Asian fruit. It’s the work of a wealthy Taiwanese man, Lung Ke Wu, who drilled holes in the asphalt to plant his own paradise and who is now causing jaws to drop when he sells the fruit, called wax apples, at farmers markets.
“Wax apples are common in Taiwan, but I’m very surprised to see them sold here,” said Sue Lee of San Marino, a shopper at the Temple City farmers market.
“I’ve been looking for this fruit for 30 years,” gushed Karla M. Alvarado on the Pasadena farmers market Facebook page. “I last had it as a kid in Nicaragua!!”

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The fruit, which really looks like it is made of wax, is glossy pink and pear-shaped, with fleshy lobes at the bottom. Beneath its thin, delicate skin is crisp but oddly spongy, juicy white flesh containing one or two small seeds. The flavor, slightly sweet and tart, is very mild — most Westerners would say insipid — but Asians prize the fruit for its refreshing qualities.