Tokyo gets fruity

Tokyo gets fruity
Finger lime
PHOTO: The Straits Times

TOKYO - It is a genuine pleasure to discover new varieties of fruit. Recently, new types of tiny fruit are appearing in restaurants and attracting shoppers. They may be small, but they are full of nutrition. They are also tasty and give an interesting accent to dishes.

Finger lime, an Australian native fruit that belongs to the citrus family, has grown in popularity in Japan. Long a food source for Aborigines, it is often called "citrus caviar" because of its look and the texture of its inner pulp.

Salt by Luke Mangan, an Australian restaurant in the Marunouchi business and shopping district near Tokyo Station, serves fresh oysters with the finger lime. The dish has proved popular with customers.

The citrus fruit first grabbed the attention of chefs in Australia. It gradually gained popularity and is now produced in Europe and North America as well. It is used in various ways, including on carpaccio Italian raw meat dishes, in desserts and in cocktail drinks.

Its pulp comes in various colors -- green, pink, red, and yellow -- and is rich in vitamins. According to a Tokyo-based wholesaler, finger limes trade at more than 700 yen (US$5.78) for 40 grams, which is equal to about three of the fruits. Due to their high price, finger limes are rarely found outside luxury restaurants in Japan.

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