20 March 2013

Hallabong (한라봉), the Sweetest Orange

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Some of the sweetest oranges you'll try, Hallabong oranges, a specialty of Jeju Island in South Korea, are a treat for the eyes and the tastebuds.

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Look for the characteristic, funky bump surrounding the stem.  I wonder what makes the orange's bump?

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These oranges are in season from winter through early spring, so I'm seeing a lot of them here in Korea right now.  After harvesting, the oranges are sometimes held back from the market for a time, allowing the acidity levels to fall and the sugars to develop until a desired flavor profile is attained.

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They peel so easily!  Which is a good thing--a really good thing--if you are the hostess preparing fruits at the end of the meal, working under the watchful eyes of your guests.  I'm no expert in actual fruit preparation, but I have learned that here in Korea, the way you prepare and present fruits in front of others, especially your elders and (potential) in-laws, is filled with meaning!  One of my next goals in life is to master the art of cutting and peeling fruits the Korean way...yep.

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In Korea, these are grown primarily on Halla Mountain, or Hallasan (한라산), from which the oranges get their name.

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Keep on the lookout for these Hallabong oranges--are they available outside of Korea and Japan (there they are called dekopon)?  In any case, don't forget your vitamin C; we're just coming out of winter and it's important to stay healthy!


Mei-Ting said...

You can get these at Whole Foods sometimes since apparently they've started growing these in California (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dekopon). They are called "Sumo" here, and I've seen them in the stores before - will have to see if I can get some later today! :D

Chef and Sommelier said...

Hi Erica! It looks like mandarin orange with the bump. What about the taste?

erica said...

Christine--wow, I didn't realize they're growing them in California now, that's great!

Hi Chef--I am more familiar with the flavor of tangerines than that of mandarin oranges, but now that I think about it, I guess you could describe the Hallabong orange flavor like that of a sweet tangerine--not as sour as an orange, but with pleasant acidity complementing the sweetness of the fruit.

Anonymous said...

Erica!!!!! So happy to "see" you. How can you make me salivate with photos of just oranges, but seeing them takes me back to my childhood days. Growing up, we used to get these oranges for Christmas, some kind of a tradition. They may have been clementines or mandarines or tangerines since they were smaller, but they were so sweet, so different from the ones I get in the U.S and the peaches were so plump and juicy, I guess b/c everything was always in season back then.

Anonymous said...

How weird... I had written a comment before but I don't see it. Anyway, inspired by the photo and your description, when I saw these at my local H-Mart the other day, I bought them! It didn't say whether they were imported from Korea like most of the Korean pears or from CA... but I can't wait to try them!

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