Last week I went on a mini-road trip with my friend to Los Angeles to escape the gloomy overcast Northern California weather. In Los Angeles, we were greeted with eighty degree full sunny clear skies and totally forgot it was, in fact, January.
After six hours of road trippin’, Los Angeles’ street fruit was the perfect snack. For $5 on the side of many of Los Angeles’s busy boulevards, you can buy a large plastic bag of fruit salad made with mango, watermelon, orange, pineapple, and cantaloupe, and sometimes even coconut, jicama, or cucumber. As you tell the vendor what fruit you want, he quickly dices the fruit, throws it in the bag, dashes chili and salt on top, and finishes the bag off with a squeeze of lime. The spice from the chili and the tartness of the lime adds dimension to the monotonous sweetness of the succulent tropical fruit.
I loved making this dish at home because the chili and salt were better distributed. On the street, only the topmost fruit has a lot of chili powder. Although you could use other fruits for this dish, the best fruits are the ones I listed above. I used mango, watermelon, cucumber, and orange at home. You can use other types of chili powder as well such as ancho chili powder. This dish is best prepared right before serving because it gets soggy after sitting for awhile. Even though you may not be able to take a road trip to somewhere more sunny, this Los Angeles fruit salad recipe will surely take your mind off of winter.
Los Angeles Fruit Salad
2 persian cucumbers
Chop all fruits and vegetables except lime into bite size pieces.
Add the fruit to a large bowl.
Season to taste with salt and cayenne. (I add enough so that the flakes of chili are visible on each piece of fruit.)
Cut the lime in half, and squeeze on top.
Mix the fruit and adjust seasoning.