Max loves bitter melon (bitter gourd)

How very, very strange. We’ve never heard of a child liking this stuff. Bitter melon is called mara in Thai, and nigauri in Japanese (goya in Okinawan). It’s much the same in both countries, although we’ve found the Japanese variant (the one used in famous Okinawan dishes such as chanpuru) to be more bitter and astringent. The Thai version is a paler green than the Japanese ones.
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Basically, in all three cultures it is recognized as having beneficial medicinal properties (hypoglycemic effect and antioxidant activities). To be quite honest, the Japanese variety was too astringent for my taste; the ones we are getting here in Thailand (about 16 inches long and almost as thick as a baseball bat) are just bitter enough to be interesting but not overpowering. Nam likes the full smack-you-in-the-face flavor of the Japanese version. I’ve noticed that more girls than guys seem to like bitter melon, in Japan at least.
Nam made a nice soup with pressure-cooked pork short ribs and bitter melon tonight, and Max couldn’t stop eating it! We’re very happy and amazed that he often chooses sour/bitter foods over sweet ones. Sometimes it’s just mimicking behaviour, but other times he’s chosen, say, to lick a lemon multiple times even though it makes his face pucker up like an imploded fugu!
P.S. Only the darker outer ring of the melon is eaten, the pale inner flesh and seeds are thrown away.

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