chinese asian longan fruit

Story published 2008.

My dad beat us to the punch when it comes to our tropical fruit growing competitions. We’re both competitive and passionate by nature when it comes to many things, but the debate over growing lychees vs. longans separated my family in two separate factions. Like two different political parties hashing it out in congress, each of these fruits had it’s own party of set of opinionated representative and lobbyists. Both my parents associated themselves with the Peoples Longan Party and Todd and I rallied for the Lychee Republic. Both are fruits are related in that they have a tough, outer peel, with a soft, fleshy grape like fruit and with in each fruit is a hard seed. Lychees are usually larger, oval and have a scaly, red outer skin, where as longans are smaller, round, and brown colored. The Lychee Republic party feel that lychees are juicier, fleshier, sweeter. The Peoples Longan Party feel that although their fruit of choice is smaller, the flavor is more intense, concentrated and therefore sweeter. It was a no win situation because neither side wanted to budge on their candidate.

chinese asian longan fruit


So it finally came down to each party growing their fruit tree of choice to settle the debate once and for all. We chose to grow the lychee and my parents of course, grew the longan. After a few years of nurturing and fertilizing, the damn longan tree produced fruit whereas our lychee barely even produced an ovary. It wasn’t until later that I realized longans are heartier and better adapted to California than the lychee. So with our heads down in shame and defeat, my parents longan tree is now thriving with fruit for all of us to enjoy. My parents are always polite and share it’s first crop of fruit with us not because they feel generous, but because it’s their way of saying “parents are always right”. Well fine, we accept the horticultural defeat, but that doesn’t mean that longans taste better!