What’s green, juicy, and sweet, and improves your karma? You’ll never guess!

For centuries, statues of a sitting, big-bellied Buddha have illustrated what’s commonly called a “pear-shaped” physique. Now a Chinese farmer has turned the tables: Instead of a pear-shaped Buddha, he has given us a Buddha-shaped pear.


The technique, which took Gao Xianzhang six years to perfect, involves confining each piece of fruit in a plastic mold for a certain amount of time as it grows. There are no reports on the flavor just yet, but that’s presumably not much of a priority.

The response to the unusual fruit, at least in Gao’s Hebei province locale, suggests that he’s struck gold with his concept. Whether for superstitious reasons or just novelty value, people have been snatching up the pears, even at a price of about $10 apiece.

Now Gao hopes the rest of the world will catch on too. His next crop is expected to be some 10,000 pears, and he plans to start shipping them to Europe.

It all makes you wonder what fruit might look like once farmers across China begin to adopt Mr. Gao’s process. Will your average shopper come home someday with a bag full of BMW-shaped pears, or cheeseburger-shaped apples? Can the day of the Michael Jackson kumquat be far off?




DanBing has lived in one Asian country and traveled in various others, engaging in activities that ranged from teaching English to playing Irish music to researching articles to marrying. The best part was usually the food, though the marriage hasn’t been too bad either. But of all his many accomplishments he is perhaps proudest of his close–extremely close–association with the person who wrote The Devil’s Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies (www.frogchartpress.com).