Food & Drinks

Heard of slip-skin grapes? Neither did I… till now.


The Kyoho grape. I would say the second-gen of the Campbell-Early/Korean grape. Image via Wikipedia

Today has been a dull, dreary day filled with disappointments, and delaying dinner didn’t help. In this state of near-despair, I slowly strolled into NTUC Fairprice in Dover. On my right, as always, would be a wide choice of expensive imported fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, nectarines, and grapes. Usually, I would skip this section for the cheaper alternatives: the oranges and the apples. But, today, I wasn’t my usual self.

My distracted mind was instantly drawn to a particular set of grapes: Korean grapes that were selling for about $3. I’m suffering from something I call the ‘Korean fever’. In the past one month, anything Korean is appealing to me. It has become a serious infliction that I must have a kimchi soup or a bibimbap every alternate day.

So, when I saw that interesting purplish-black Korean article in NTUC, my exhausted mind rapidly thought, “Oh, well. It’s been a terrible day. You’ve finished two lab reports. Let’s just get it. You know, you want it…” And, so, I did.

Back home, I couldn’t resist the temptation to taste them. I was surprised at its texture when I first held it. It was a little soft and slightly squishy. Initially, I suspected that it might be rotten. But, when I popped it out of its slip-skin with my index finger and thumb into my mouth, I was just flabbergasted.

Oh, wow!

The delectable smooth flesh instantly tantalised my taste buds and set off fireworks in my mind. Many said that it tastes like champagne. They might be right. But, being brought up to love the king of fruits (the durian, a love-it-or-hate-it fruit), I thought that it has more similarities to the durian than anything else. Pungent and aromatic with a smooth, jelly like texture that melts in your mouth, that one grape was just too overwhelming to my senses. How fascinating!

And, that was my first experience with the Korean grape, or more specifically, the Campbell Early breed.

It inspired me to find out more about slip-skin or loose-skin grapes. There are three famous slip-skin breeds. Because of their unique taste and texture, they are favourites for the making of jelly, jam, and fruit syrups.  There’s the Campbell Early grape that I have just tasted; the Concord grape, a native in North America; and the Kyoho grape, a cross between Campbell Early and Centennial breeds.

To me, it seems that the Kyoho breed is a second-generation of the Campbell Early. It is very popular as a dessert in Japan, and is cultivated in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

So, what’s the next goal in my quest to taste all the fruits in the world? To taste the Kyoho grapes!

Already that thought holds the promise of an extraordinary experience.


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