How a Chick Says Yay to a Bowl of Papaya in Jogja



California papaya or Calina papaya served on a blue plate and three limes in Jogja
The sweet California papaya served on a blue plate

All set.  Right here, from my house in the city of Jogja, I’d like to know something. Anyone who loves papaya raise your hand! Yes, you! Maybe you raise your hand but no I certainly have no urge to raise mine.

Papaya is not my favorite food. My mind always had this picture of my grandparents’ neighbor fed his parrots with slices of papaya.  I am already like a parrot – so talkative – without any papaya! My goodness! “Papaya is a bird food!” was my statement each time my father served our family a bowl of papaya and it had been being my excuse to avoid eating papaya for years that most of the time the excuse couldn't save me from papaya.

When I was a kid, my father liked to give us, his children, slices of papaya in a bowl. He would make half of the papaya into slices and served them in a bowl then called us. Both of my parents were the same. Maybe this is applied to your parents too. When we were a child, they liked to tell us, their kids, to eat fruits no matter what.  When I was too little of course I could not make any excuse to skip it. But things were changed as I grew up! Ho ho ho! “It’s bird food. I don’t wanna eat that!” I exclaimed. My parents (either my mother or my father) would reply, “Save your breath. This papaya is rich in the vitamin. Good for you and of course it’s tasty!” Yikes! Do you know what would happen afterward? I would sniff those slices of papaya and my father would shout, “Don’t sniff the food!” Aaargh!! It was a battle between a senior citizen and a junior citizen, a battle between the superior and the inferior, a battle the inferior never won for she was just kiddo! OK, I exaggerate. It wasn’t that horrible but I had to struggle to eat papaya. I disliked its distinctive aroma. It was so ewwww… Yikes! Its aroma was not so friendly to my nostrils. There were times in which I had to stop eating it and spit it out for I could not stand the smell. 

My parents sought a way to encourage me to eat papaya. I should admit they did a good trick to trap me eating the papaya. Oh yeah, it was pretty useful for years! I voluntarily gave myself to open my mouth eating papaya after either my father or my mother served the papaya with lime juice and sugar. First, they would put slices of papaya into a bowl. Then, they would take a lime, cut it, and squeezed it above the papaya. Afterward, to reduce the sour taste, they would take preferably a spoon of sugar and pour it all over the top of the papaya.  Hmmm… it was way much better serving. The aroma of lime juice decreased the distinctive aroma of papaya.

The california papaya served on plate next to two limes and a spoon of sugar in Jogja
A combination of lime juice and sugar makes the serving of California papaya rich of taste
Years had passed. One afternoon my parents brought home good news. As any other papaya-day, they served papaya and as usual, I protested saying it was a bird food and the smell was gross. I was wrong. Yeah, women aren’t always right. Sometimes a fruit proves us wrong. There was a miracle in the city of Jogja, right inside my house. My father prepared us for a different variety of papaya called California papaya. This papaya smelled better. Much better! For the first time in years, papaya won me over. 

Did my parents go to California for the sake of papaya hunting? Nah. They didn’t have to fly across the ocean to get me that papaya. California papaya or Calina papaya is a local innovation. The innovators are Prof. Dr. Ir. Sriani Sujiprihati, M.S., and Prof. Dr. Ir. Sobir. Based on this we can conclude that California papaya is the native Indonesian fruit.  This variety of papaya is famous for its sweetness and its thick yet soft meat. It also has no papaya aroma that always bothered my nostrils in the past. 

California papaya is easy to find in Indonesia and it would be great if you taste this fruit while staying in Jogja. Put this fruit in your must-eat-list. You can buy this papaya in traditional markets or supermarkets. Enjoy its sweetness and if you are curious to try, serve it with lime juice and sugar too! Yes! Then we can be in the same league; The League of Sour and Sweet! Wink! Hahaha…

Nowadays I can eat papaya with no hesitation as long as the papaya is California one but still, I’d like it better with lime juice and sugar. It’s my thing!

Now it’s your turn. I am curious about you and papaya. What do you think of papaya? Do you have a special way to eat papaya? What about the California papaya? Have you tasted it? Please share your story in the comment section below.

Thank you for visiting and reading my blog. Warm regards to you from me in Jogja. Stay safe, stay healthy, and eat some fruits!

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1 Comments

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