This is one time us Indians, can sit back and laugh at how the west treats things they are unaware of. First, immediately label it – exotic- which then translates into marketing terms as something from the land of the Orient or the East, and that it will be expensive. Secondly, it seems like whoever had the jackfruit in the US say that it tastes like pulled pork.
In India, we can tell them how exactly the fruit tastes without making it out to be some ‘monster crop’ ( a tag given by the writers to describe the humble chakka or kathal ). Probably they were unnerved by just looking at its prickly outside and the size a jackfruit can grow to.
An article in the Independent was titled ‘This exotic fruit tastes like pork and it could save millions from starving’. The writer goes to describe it terms like ‘resembling something out of the Jurrasic Park era’ and how the ‘enigmatic’ fruit is native to South and Southeast Asia while it is rare in the US.
Here’s the hilarious part, the writer says: “Though jackfruit is still widely unknown in the US, it is cropping up in the vegan and vegetarian communities because of the flavour that unripened jackfruit adopts after an hour or so of cooking, which resembles that of pulled pork.”
For those of us who have both pork and unripe jackfruit will immediately be able to say, how it is in no way similar.
But the article does hit home when it says that despite in growing in the backyards of many South Indian and North Indian homes, India is yet to recognise its potential.
Take for example – jackfruit grown in Kerala. More than often we find the food going wasted, unplucked and let on the tree to be eaten by insects. While elsewhere it is treated as an exotic fruit. Only recently has the state woken up to the fruit’s benefits. The fruit offers plenty for the consumers - bark, fruit, natural latex, wood, cattle fodder and more.