May 10, 2007

While we were in Playa del Carmen walking through the main park by the ferry, we ran across a woman selling Ciruelas. We'd never seen anything like it! They were little, hard, green fruits about the size of a key lime, but clearly not citrus. I asked her what they were and she said they were "Ciruelas."

Anna and I exchanged looks and decided to buy a little bag of them. The woman selected a bag, opened it and asked, "Do you want salt?" I told her, "Sure, we want them however people eat them. We've never seen them before." Then she asked if we wanted lime juice on them. Of course we wanted lime juice, isn't that how people eat them? Then she asked if we wanted chili. Um, yeah!

So we walked away with the little bag of ciruelas to see what delicious concoction she had just prepared for us. They were some what hard with a little pit in the middle, so we bit off the flesh around it (this was after I asked her if we were supposed to peel them). They were so unbelievably bitter that it not only made your mouth pucker, but it made your tongue feel furry. Anna and I each ate one and decided that we would save the special ciruelas for our friend Miguel whom we were meeting when we got back to Cozumel that evening.

Over drinks with Miguel we told him that we had a special gift for him and presented him with the ciruelas. "Oh, ciruelas, great! I can eat all of those and get diarrhea!" was his response.

This morning I finally looked up what the english word for "Ciruela" is. Apparently we were eating green, as in unripe, plums with salt, lime and chili powder. Mmmm.... interesting.