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A Feast of Fancy Fruit

September 30, 2011

(Update: We just got down to Cape Town after an awesome beach and safari vacation in Tanzania/Zanzibar with my family!  I’ll post about that when I get a hold of some of my mom’s fabulous photos from the trip.  Until then, we continue with some posts on Kinshasa…)

A friend of ours once told us that Congo’s soil is so lush and fertile that you could toss a pebble on the ground and it would sprout.

Fruit Medley

One thing that we certainly never lacked in Kinshasa was fresh, local, delicious, tropical fruit.

(Fair warning: I like taking pictures of fruit almost as much as I like eating the fruit.  I sometimes even set up fruit photos shoots on the kitchen counter when the light is good.)

Red bananas, papaya, guava, and red mystery fruit

Some fruit in Kinshasa (like bananas, pineapple, mangoes, coconut and papaya) wouldn’t neccessarily be an unfamiliar sight at a U.S. supermarket.  However, back in the states, these tropical fruits are cultivated and harvested thousands of miles away and then shipped in from the closest tropics (Hawaii, Central America, etc.).


Other types of fruit that we tried in Congo, although I had never seen them in the U.S. before, I had tasted them before while visiting other tropical countries, such as rambutan (in Thailand, similar to lychee), passion fruit (Rwanda), and guava (in Sierra Leone).

Guava. Might just be my favorite fruit ever.

Still other types of fruit that we found in Kinshasa I had never even heard of before, let alone tasted- like soursop, sweetsop and mangosteen.

Soursop. In french: Coeur de boef (Cow's heart). Click image to read more on Wikipedia

Sugar apple or Sweetsop, cousin of Soursop but a little smaller. Click image to read more on Wikipedia

Mangosteen. Click image to read more on Wikipedia

There were even a few fruits that we tried that I still don’t really know what they were…

Redish-orange mystery fruit

Some fruit would occasionally come in completely unfamiliar forms…

…some of them were HUGE!

Katie and the giant papaya- it was the same size as my thigh

Jamie holding a huge avocado

…and some were different colors than what we’re used to in the U.S.

Red bananas. Papaya, guava and passion fruit in the background.

One of the best things about all this delicious fruit was our supplier: Bucresse, our fruit and veggie lady.   We would stop by her fruit stand on the way home from work a few times a week to pick up produce, always fresh and of incredible quality.

She was quick with a smile and would almost always sneak a few extras in our bags after we’d paid.

And her business model was flawless, yet unique in Kinshasa.  It went like this: she was nice, and she gave consistantly fair prices.  This differs from the more common business model in Kinshasa: jack up the price 4-fold for foriegners.

Bucresse’s model (not surprisingly) won her dozens of loyal customers, while the competing fruit stands owners nearby glared with envy at her constant stream of shoppers.

When I was saying my goodbyes to her on our last day in Kinshasa, she told me that she could tell that I was happy becuase I had most certrainly gained some weight (a compliment in Africa).

Umm… thanks Bucresse.

(Jamie says that I haven’t though… but he is kinda required to say that.)

I told her it was actually becuase she had kept me so well fed all year.

Fruit Medley: Mangosteen, lime, papaya, orange, coconut, avocado, rambutan, guava

5 Comments leave one →
  1. KAIT permalink
    September 30, 2011 9:20 pm


  2. louley permalink
    March 16, 2012 5:51 pm

    ik vind het zo lekker dat ik honger van krijg!!!!!!!

  3. April 30, 2015 3:08 pm

    Hi there , the redish-orange mystery fruit , it’s actually called Ntoundou. I’m from Congo Brazzaville now living in Barcelona we have those as well . On my last trip home I brought some back to Barcelona so my friends could taste , , they love it 🙂 It’s one of my favorite .

    • Katie R permalink*
      May 13, 2015 2:13 pm

      Thanks so much for solving the mystery!

  4. May 9, 2016 5:08 am

    Wow cuz this is really greatexcellent work! Congrats and keep it up

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