What looks like it comes from the Klingon home world (or Game of Thrones) and is super-popular in desserts? The amazing dragon fruit! They can be expensive and hard to come by, however, so let’s take a look at 5 other fruits like dragon fruit that you can use as substitutes.
The most common comparison you’ll find when it comes to dragon fruit flavor and texture is the humble kiwi. While these two fruits look very different, their interior flesh is surprisingly similar. Both of them have juicy, slightly grainy flesh that’s full of tiny, crunchy little seeds.
Kiwis and dragon fruit differ in hue and flavor intensity, however. For example, dragon fruit insides are white with little black seeds and kiwi flesh is bright green. Additionally, kiwi has quite a strong, intense flavor while dragon fruit is just this side of bland.
Related Article: What Does Kiwi Taste Like?
When people are asked to describe what they think dragon fruit tastes like, the second most popular comparison is “pear”. This is because dragon fruit has a similar grainy texture and pear-like juiciness. The flavor is much milder than any kind of pear we know, but firmer cultivars like Bartlett are closer than Bosc as far as similarities go.
Grab a small melon baller and scoop out some pear flesh. Then use those in fruit salads or smoothie bowls in lieu of dragon fruit. The effect will be similar, and will be much less expensive!
The third most common flavor comparison you’ll get to dragon fruit is watermelon. Of course, it’s the lighter melon flesh closer to the rind that bears the greatest resemblance to that of dragon fruit. If you taste the dark red, juicy flesh at its core, that has a very strong watermelon flavor.
Since dragon fruit’s overall taste is quite mild, you’ll only get a similar effect with the pale pink flesh around the edges. Use that in smoothies and juices, or cut it into fun shapes with cookie cutters for dessert plates.
Read This Next: 18 Fruits like Watermelon
When it comes to appearance, there’s nothing on the planet that looks exactly like a dragon fruit. One of the only species on the planet that bears any resemblance to a dragon fruit is the rambutan.
This lychee (or litchi) relative has similar colors in its skin. You’ll find red, pink, and green hues in its spikes, but the interior is vastly different. While dragon fruit flesh is grainy and white with teensy black seeds, rambutan has jelly-like flesh around a large black pit. They also taste completely different, but if you’re looking for an interesting appearance comparison, this is one route you can take.
Although dragon fruit’s strawberry note is one of the mildest ones, it does bear a resemblance when it comes to texture. Of course, it’s only under-ripe strawberries that have a similar flavor and texture to dragon fruit. Once they’re ripe, they have a very strong, unique flavor.
Since dragon fruit is quite bland, you’ll have to use pale strawberries to use as substitutes, if necessary. Use them in smoothie bowls, smoothies, or juices to good effect.
As mentioned before, dragon fruits can be difficult to come across. Sure, they’ve become more popular in recent years but they’re still considered quite exotic. They’re native to Mexico and Ecuador, but you can also find them growing in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
If you live in any of these places or plan on visiting them soon, you can taste these lovely fruits right off the tree. Alternatively, you can look around Central American and Asian supermarkets to see if you can find them there.
Of course, if you still can’t find them, you can use any of the fruits like dragon fruit mentioned on this list. They may not look the same, but they’ll offer you similar flavors and textures to play with.