Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Golden Korean Melons

A few weeks ago, I was shopping at Ranch 99 market, the huge mega store of Asian goodies.

They always have the most unusual Asian produce (this is not necessarily the place to support sustainable foods since most of the produce killed tons of airline fuel to get here). Something that caught my eye was this beautiful oblong shaped melon with dark yellow sections. It was called a Korean melon.

I’d never seen these before, and I’m a big fan of melons during the summer. The unusual sectioning of the fruit reminded me of the fancy Italian melons I sometimes see at the grocery store, but those are more round like a soccer ball while this Korean melon was oblong and about the size of a big papaya.

I’m not sure why it’s called Korean melons. Maybe they originated there or maybe it’s just popular among the Koreans. Doing some research on the Web, I couldn’t find the proper Korean name. I saw “boseok,” “chameh” and “dua gan.” Any of my Korean friends out there know what this is called?

Like any other melons, I picked one that was firm with a slight give. I definitely sniffed it to see if I could detect any perfume smell. You know, that whole sweet nectar from the gods thing.

When I got home, I cut into it and the seeds and flesh looked a lot like a honeydew melon. But the sweetness definitely was more like cantaloupe. Weird huh? I thought it was nice to eat, but I wouldn’t say it tasted any different than a really nice cantaloupe. And it wasn’t super sweet. So really, it’s just a matter of whether you feel like eating a yellow fleshed melon or orange fleshed melon.

Serve it with a side of kim chee and I’m so there!

Other posts of interest:
Casaba: The Wrinkly Melon
Watermelon and Arugula Salad Recipe

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's called a "chameh," although I'm not sure of the spelling. It's sounds like CHA-mi. I'm not sure they are indigenous to Korea, but they are certainly very popular there.

Jeff said...

I love shopping at the asian market just because I end up with all this stuff and usually go ok cool now what.

Going to have to look for this ingredient now since I know it is safe to eat.

hungry dog said...

I've never heard of a Korean melon...now I'm curious to try one! I love melon in the summertime too.

Jenster said...

I first tried Korean melon a few summers ago at a potluck when a Korean guy brought it, cut into thin slices. It was really refreshing, juicy but not drippy. I really loved the subtle melon flavor. He called it Korean melon, too.

There's a large Korean supermarket near my home and they list this item as Korean melon as well. I just call it delish.

Carolyn Jung said...

I bought one of these, too, a year or so ago, when I spotted them at an Asian market. Had never had them before, but their shape and color got me curious. I agree with you, though. The flavor is good, but not so distinctive that I'd probably race out to buy one again.

Palidor said...

I've never seen one of these either. Very neat!

Anonymous said...

Having ate this all my life, I'd say it is distinctive from a cantelope. It's more sweet around the middle near the seeds, but it has a crisper and less sweet flavor than those melons. I know one thing, when I want to eat Korean melon, no other will do.

Summer said...

I just tried this today too! As another poster stated, it is indeed a "chameh" / "cha mi" melon. In Korean, it's written as 참외.

Halo said...

참외 is available in two sizes right now. The bigger ones (the one the blogger tried) are less sweet and the seeds must be scooped out (cut the melon in half length-wise to best facilitate scooping of seeds). The smaller ones are super sweet these days and are to be eaten with the seeds intact. The young seeds are edible and their membrane(?) is what doubles the sweetness factor for the small ones. Enjoy!

Mei said...

I just got one from ranch as well and was wondering about making it into a soup. Didn't know I could just eat it. Yum. Definitely going to but it more often

Gritter said...

I'm eating one right now. My mom (100% Korean) always called them, "Korean Cantaloupes", so that's what I call 'em. Delicious!

jenn cho said...

Soo refreshing and soo juicy! Having one right now as an afternoon snack. My advice: peel the skin and cut it up into small slices. I eat everything including the seeds. Don't waste any of the yummy sweetness!

PFPI said...

Yes Jenn, peel and eat seeds and all!! The center is the sweetest part of all. hmmm... maybe try peeling and putting into a blender or processor for a lovely nectar type drink??

Bea said...

I decided to try Korean melon this morning, with breakfast. The taste was slightly sweet and so fresh and crisp, I went back to H-Mart and bought more. Tonight I'm having some for dessert with tea. Yum!

Anonymous said...

My grandmother is a native from South Korea. I grew up living with my grandparents, and I would always go grocery shopping with her at Lee Lee's market in Chandler, AZ as well as various other Asian markets. she used to get these for me. I love them! I actually think they taste better than canteloupe and honeydew melons. The only name she ecery gave me as to what they were called was Korean canteloupe.

They are sweeter than the melons at the other more populated grocery stores. They were always great as an after school snack! I ised to eat them with almost every meal.

Now that i have moved to Las Vegas, they are harder to find since the Asian markets seem to be sparse out here.

erin said...

you have to eat them cold! they are even crispier then! - their sweetness in the center and the crispiness is what makes them distinctive