On a recent trip to Costa Rica I had the pleasure of trying carambolas, AKA starfruit. In our garden was a tree, just laden with ripe offerings. Eating tropical fruit fresh off the tree was a daily highlight of the trip.
The tree was brought to our attention by Olman, the gardener/caretaker of the property who quickly became a friend. He spoke very little English. We spoke very little Spanish. We got by with a handy phrasebook and a lot of charades. One day he tried explaining this “muy rica” (Spanish for yummy) drink his wife makes using starfruit, rice, water, and some sugar and spice. Eager to partake in an authentic Tico experience, we gave it a go. I’m not sure if it was the language barrier or our gringo ineptitude but, to put it nicely, it was a complete disaster. Too polite to be honest, Olman claimed it just “needed more sugar” but trust me, all the sugar in a box of Ding Dongs couldn’t have saved that mess.
From that point on we just enjoyed the starfruit simply, letting it shine on its own.