This eggplant is supposed to be sweet like fruit…so we ate it like a fruit!

Eggplants are one of those vegetables that you either love or you hate. In my opinion, whether you like it or not depends on how it was cooked when you first tried it, because if done wrong the eggplant can be bitter and soggy, but done right they can have the perfect mix of savory flavors and a divine texture, though some people just can’t stand it either way.

But rest assured, if you’re an eggplant hater, there’s an eggplant in Japan that even you can enjoy! It’s called a mizu nasu, which translates as “water eggplant.” It’s not a particularly rare kind of eggplant–you might have even eaten it at a restaurant in Japan without even knowing it–but it is a little different from a regular eggplant in that it has a higher water content and a sweeter flavor, which apparently makes it good to eat raw.

I know what you’re thinking. “Raw eggplant? Even more gross!” But hear us out!

Our Japanese-language reporter Tasuku Egawa happened to be thinking about the mizu nasu the other day, and decided to look them up on Wikipedia. When he learned that they are edible raw, he was utterly shocked. “It sounds just like a fruit!” he thought. Could it be that the mizu nasu is like any old apple, plum, or peach that you could toss into your bag before you leave the house, to pull out and snack on whenever you get hungry? Like a fruit you share with friends over lunch?

▼ “Cheers!”

To be honest, Tasuku only half-believed what he’d read on Wikipedia. It was Wikipedia after all, and eggplants…well, they don’t exactly look or taste or feel like a fruit. But it was a theory that needed confirming, and we at SoraNews24 are always up to confirmm or dispel, crazy theories, especially when it comes to food, so naturally the logical course of action was to go out and buy a mizu nasu and take a nice big bite out of it, completely raw.

It was surprisingly easy to find mizu nasu at a local supermarket. They were sold in packages of two right there among the other eggplants. They looked pretty similar to ordinary eggplants, though Tasuku observed that they might be just a little rounder. They felt like ordinary eggplants too, with the same firmness.

In fact, while holding the eggplant in his hand, Tasuku began to feel some reservations about biting into it. Without knowing that they were labeled as “mizu nasu” he would never have thought them to be any different from a regular eggplant, and he would most certainly never bite into a regular eggplant raw. What if it actually tasted really bad?

But he had his journalistic integrity to maintain, so, steeling himself, he lifted the eggplant to his lips and took a bite


Wait a minute…

It was…actually really good! Before he knew it, he’d eaten everything but the stem.

It was delicious, but also an immensely confusing experience. In fact, it took a while for his brain to catch up with his taste buds, because what he’d held in his hand had undoubtedly been an eggplant. It looked like an eggplant, felt like an eggplant, and even the inside was eggplant-like.

But eating it was not at all what we would expect of eating a raw eggplant! The flesh was so juicy, and though it wasn’t nearly as sweet as an apple or plum, it definitely had a faint sweetness to it. He thought that it could be eaten raw in the same way tomatoes or cucumbers are, though the texture of it was very much like eating a crunchy apple.

What’s more, Tasuku actually has a slight allergy to some fruits like apples and peaches, which leave the inside of his mouth slightly itchy, and funnily enough, the mizu nasu gave him the same reaction. This increased its mind-boggling nature. He felt as if his brain had to navigate through several processing errors before finally understanding what he had just eaten.

Based on Tasuku’s experience, however, the mizu nasu, is, in fact, a sweet eggplant that is completely edible raw. Tasuku even thinks that you could cut it up and serve it as fruit and everyone would believe you. It might even be good diced up and put in a parfait. After all, unique sweets are on trend right now…surely all the foodies will be keen to try it! Why not get your hands on a mizu nasu and try it for yourself?

Photos © SoraNews24
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[ Read in Japanese ]