Semi-dried persimmons 柿饼 (ShìBǐng: literally ‘persimmon cake’) have also appeared on the streets of Beijing, chewy on the outside, soft and succulent on the inside and bigger than any dried fruit has the right to be. What better way to use up persimmons as the season kicks off?
When I was smaller, I read a vividly illustrated version of Aladdin which described about food in the same way it talked about treasure. I remember passages about ‘diamonds as big as persimmons’, ‘pilaf jewelled with plump raisins’ and ‘sherbet the colour of molten gold’. When I saw this pack of dried persimmons it sent me right back to those illustrations, to the pantalooned attendants carrying Aladdin’s new wealth into his palace on silver and gold platters.
An exoticised view of The Orient? Most certainly. But I don’t ever remember getting similarly excited about a prune.