紅毛榴槤 (etymology)

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strad

Senior Member
English (American)
紅毛榴槤 seems to be the most common Chinese name for the fruit called soursop in English, and guanabana in most Spanish speaking countries. Does anyone know the origin of the Chinese name? I know the look and shape of the fruit slightly resembles a durian (榴槤), although the taste and smell are nothing alike, so I can understand that part of the name. But how about the 紅毛 part? I know 紅毛 is Hokkien slang for foreigner, so is soursop the foreign durian (as it comes from the west)?

Outside of South East Asian Chinese communities, is soursop very common or popular in other Chinese communities? Are there other names for it?
 
  • hoin1585

    New Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    I've never heard it before. But a Hong Kong blogger wrote that the name 榴槤(durian) was because its awful smell, which just like durian. And because it was introduced to Taiwan by Dutch people from West Indies.
     

    Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Erm, at first I thought you're talking about 番鬼荔枝, but it turns out they are two different fruits under the same genus. I haven't heard of it before.

    I won't call 紅毛 "slang", rather it's the normal word for a "Caucasian" in some dialects (my mother still says it from time to time). Compare 紅毛泥 "cement" in Cantonese.

    There's also the fruit 红毛丹, but this one seems to have gotten its name through its own red and hairy appearance.
     
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