Hype for Hybrids
With the growth of science and technology, farmers have been able to cultivate new fruits—hybrid fruits. In Korea, these hybrid fruits and vegetables have grown immensely in popularity, and have become a staple of Korean culture. Here are some of the most common hybrid fruits that you can find in South Korea:
Hallabong, or dekopon, is a hybrid version of mandarin orange. In Korea, it is mainly grown in Jeju on a mountain called Halla-san (hence the name). Its rich, sweet taste makes it a beloved snack among people all across the globe. Hallabong is great for juice as well—you’d likely be able to find Jeju hallabong juice at a Korean grocery store! Adding to its appeal is its seedless nature and the relative ease with which you can peel the fruit (no one likes to get rinds under their nails!). Due to the popularity of this hybrid fruit, it is often sold in large boxes during gift-giving season.
Yuja (also known as yuzu) is a citrus fruit that resembles both a lemon and an orange. Its tart taste and fresh aroma have made it a big element in Korean cuisine. One of the most famous applications of this fruit is for yuja tea, a sweet drink used to treat colds (it’s high in vitamin C!). Unfortunately, yuja has been banned from certain countries, including the United States, to prevent Korean diseases from spreading to American growers. However, you might be able to find pre-made yuja tea at an Asian supermarket!
A sweetie, or oroblanco, is a hybrid grapefruit/pomelo that lacks the bitterness of a regular grapefruit, leaving only the sweet taste. In essence, they are perfect for people who love grapefruit but cannot tolerate sourness. They can often be found in Korean supermarkets, so make sure to try one if you get a chance!
- Korean Melon
Perhaps the most popular of them all, a Korean melon is oval-shaped, with its defining characteristic being the white lines running through its yellow peel. Inside the fruit is a large number of seeds that are often eaten along with the rest of the fruit. The sweet taste of a ripe Korean melon is exclusively unique, and is something that you should definitely try for yourself.
Those are just four of the most commonly found hybrid fruits in Korea, and there are definitely a lot more to explore. With the growth of technology, the production of hybrid fruits will continue—the possibilities are endless!
Written by Lynn Lee