New York Times reporter has a problem with Southeast Asian fruit and isn’t afraid to say it

On Monday, The New York Times published a story on the big business of fruit in Thailand, which had the potential to be an intriguing tour of Southeast Asia’s unique produce offerings, but ultimately left many readers with a bitter aftertaste. The piece reads like a list of insulting grievances against every fruit available in Bangkok’s massive Talad Thai market. According to the writer, jackfruit tastes like cheap gum and is reminiscent of “polyps,” a medical term for abnormal tissue growths. Mangosteens are more often disappointing than delicious because their flesh can be off-color. And rambutan, a relative of lychee, supposedly resembles a coronavirus in appearance—an analogy as necessary as a comparison of jelly beans to listeria. Which is to say, not at all. Worst of all, the report doesn’t do much in the way of sourcing: These objections seem to come not from interviewees on the ground, but from the reporter herself. One wonders: Are all these fruit problems, or are they you problems?

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