This large green native of South Asia and Southeast Asia is the world’s largest tree-borne fruit: It can grow up to three feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds. The ripe flesh of jackfruit is thin and yellow and has a taste similar to cantaloupe, although a completely different texture. It can be eaten on its own or used in savory dishes such as curry, or sweet dishes such as halo halo.
But on American menus jackfruit is trending in its unripe form as a meat substitute, because proponents of it argue that its texture is similar to that of pulled pork.
Unlike traditional meat alternatives like tofu, seitan and tempeh, jackfruit is free of both soy and gluten, but it also is lower in protein content.
This Flavor of the Week is found on less than 1% of U.S. restaurant menus, but the occurrence has jumped 59% in the past four years, according to market research firm Datassential.
Click through the Flavor of the Week slideshow to learn more about this versatile meat substitute.