Sweet Square Suika: Worth Their Weight in Gold?

June 23, 2007 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

In the Simpsons episode “Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo,” the Simpsons are forced to take a job working in a fish-gutting factory, partly because Homer has squandered the family’s savings on novelty items such as square watermelons.

Do square watermelons (suika) really exist? Indeed they do, and some Japanese people go crazy for them. The cube-shaped melons, created with this polycarbonate case, are forced to conform to a square shape as they grow.

melon.jpg

At a Japanese market, these peculiar goodies, often considered more of a fashion accessory than something to chow down on, will set you back nearly $100 bucks each. This is two or three times the cost of a regular watermelon in Japan.

But hey, on the plus side, it makes a great present; it’s already shaped to fit inside a gift box! Just add a ribbon and go! Also, once you get the fruit home, it won’t roll around in your fridge or take up an entire shelf. It’s stable to grasp while you slice it, too. In fact, you can stack the melons on top of one another to save more space.

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So where do they come from?

In 1981, a farmer from Zentusuji in Kagawa prefecture tried growing them on his farm in the southwestern island of Shikoku. The experiment eventually paid off. Today, hundreds are shipped each summer to Tokyo, Osaka and China.

Though you won’t find them in the U.S. (yet), they’ve caught on in Great Britain, where they’ve been sold in Tesco since October 2006.

Of course, if you’re really into watermelons, and want to prove your elite status, pick up a luxurious black rind melon. One of those babies recently sold in Asahikawa for ¥530,000 (more than $4,000!).

Sarah S.

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Entry filed under: Japanese Business, Japanese Foods.

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