Expat Life: Eating Out.....The Answer to "What's This?"

In yesterday's post, I shared a typical dilemma faced by many expats in Asia:  trying to figure out what they're eating.

For those of you who were up all night tossing and turning with the frustration of wondering what the above item I found in my soup was, have no fear:  relief is at hand.

The object in question was (drum roll, please):  a jujube, or Korean date, not to be confused with the American confectionery of the same name. (For those who are interested, there is also, apparently, an American drag queen and TV personality who goes by a similar name, which provided me with some rather electrifying Google search results)  They are common in the cooking of China, Korea, and parts of the Middle East.  When mature, they are a brownish color, which naturally turns to a deep red when the fruit is dried.

dried jujubes, via


None of the reader comments correctly identified the item as a jujube - or even as a date, -although a number of you got into the ball park with dried persimmons, plums, cherries and the like.  However, MsCaroline has decided that she absolutely loves this sort of guessing game, simply because she had such a good time reading your comments(both on the blog and on Facebook), some of which she will now share with you:

Most Likely to Become a Tongue Twister:  Goes to MrC:  "An adolescent ibex testicle?"

Closest Answer (based on research and/or personal experience):  Shared between fellow expat bloggers  Dkuroiwa and Stacy:  "..a small, sweet plum...."  and " rehydrated salt prune or plum..(later changed to - in my opinion, quite reasonably)...gingko berry."

Most Reasonable Answer Based on Personal Knowledge of MsCaroline and Son#2:  Goes to KarenA:  "A cranberry?"

Special Integrity Award:  Goes to my Seoul Sister, B, who knew - but didn't tell.

Most Likely To Cause the Reader to Snort Coffee Through The Nose Award:  Goes to Holly:  "An eyeball? A testicle? A liposarcoma?"  

We'll be going out to dinner again soon.....stay tuned.


Holly said…
In my own defense, I was looking at the pic on my tiny little Blackberry screen. I thought I could see a place where there was once a stem, but since I slept through the "Fruits of the World" lecture in 7th grade science class, I figured I would go with goofy. Sorry about the coffee...
MsCaroline said…
@Holly:No apologies needed! A mouthful of coffee is a small price to pay for a hearty belly laugh. MrL and I got the best laugh of the day out of your comment. So glad you slept through that lecture!
Stacy said…
Darn! So close! This WAS fun and I look forward to your next mystery ingredient challenge.

Expat mum said…
Half of my time in the USA I have no idea what I'm eating, but in Ghana last year I often just closed my eyes and swallowed.
MsCaroline said…
@Stacy - Well, you didn't win the challenge, but I shall give you full props for coming up with a fabulous name! I love 'mystery ingredient challenge!'

@ExpatMum: Well, in all fairness, at least in the US (in theory) you could ask (and maybe understand) what it is you're eating! I assume Ghana must be a lot like Seoul - no point in even asking.
dkuroiwa said…
yeah...that WAS fun! i like doing stuff like that!! i've been here long enough (in japan) to know that if there is something i don't recognize in a dish, convincing myself it is something fun and good is ALWAYS the best thing to do!!!

can't wait for the next one....and WE KNOW there sill be another one!!!
MsCaroline said…
@Dkuroiwa: Oh, I'm sure! I'm guessing Japan and Korea aren't too different when it comes to mystery ingredients - I'd love to see some of yours!
BavarianSojourn said…
Aha, so not a plum. But what a beautiful colour!
Trish said…
I was nowhere near! And I could have cheated!

Talking of looking up things on google and getting startling results reminds me when a local photography firm took some photos of our amateur theatre group. I told my mother to look at them on 'Big Day Photography'. Unfortunately she misheard and thought it was called 'Big Dave Photography'. When she clicked on images she certainly got a surprise: Dave certainly is a big chap!

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