Yangmei are back!

I’m not too keen on some of Asia’s “exotic fruits,” such as durian and lychee. There is one, however, that I love. It’s called yangmei. According to both Wenlin and my big fat awesome New Age Chinese-English Dictionary, the English name is “red bayberry.” Does that help you any? Because it tell me nothing. The New Age dictionary also tells me its scientific name: Myrica rubra. Since most of us aren’t botanists, I better supply a picture.


Yangmei make great finger food.

When in groups, yangmei are not afraid of heights.

Yangmei are about the size of a grape, and somewhat resemble a raspberry on the outside. The taste is similar to a strawberry, I think. Some are sweeter, some are sourer. The fruit is pulpier than a strawberry, and there’s a pit in the middle about the size of a cherry pit. Good stuff.

Can you buy these overseas? I’m not sure. But if you’re in China, be sure to try them if you haven’t yet. It’s once again yangmei season, and it’ll only last for the summer.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Chappie (HuaYi) Says: May 23, 2004 at 6:29 pm

    I know that in the mainland of west-europe has. The often come in large tins/cans(food) or in bottles(wine).

    Becarefull they are very additive and quite healty.

  2. I’ve seen this fruit on the street before but never tried it. I will now and let you know what i think. what do you pay for 1 jin of the yangmei

    By the way, are sourer and pulpier proper words? just wondering as i don’t have an english dictionary on hand….

  3. I tried it this weekend. Oh man, what a fruit. I love it. I heard it’s a bit of a… cleanser.

    I hate durian, AND I’m Singaporean!

  4. Throwback to Professor Wan’s home visit a couple years ago. Yangmei marinated in Chinese hard alcohol (“Bai Jiu”) is the only way that true savages enjoy the fruit.

  5. I’ve seen them in Philadelphia, but only at Asian supermarkets.

    I’m a fan of xianggua, myself. Except there was this one time when I bought a bunch of xianggua, put them in the fridge, and left town for a few days. When I came back, it turned out that my apartment’s power had gone out while I was away, the the xianggua had fermented and then exploded in my fridge.

  6. hmmmmm I’ve never tried that. Looks delicious though! You know when I first saw the word YANGMEI I actually thought of some martial arts thing. heheehe. I’m from singapore anyway ^^

  7. omg…i love yangmei just as much as u do from the sounds of it…

    i’ve been living in Australia for over 10 yrs now and to this day fresh yangmei is still on my mind cuz i only get to eat canned ones in OZ.
    i tried to describe it to my freinds and they think i’m either a freak or the thing i described is a rambutan…
    Whenever i return to China its always in December, and the fruit’s not in season, but my aunties would freeze them in advance for me,but nothing beats a fresh yangmei. Next month, my luck’s about to change, i’ll be eating fresh yangmei in china for the first time in over 10yrs…so excited

  8. Just yesterday I was thinking about China and I thought that it is about Yangmei time in China, except that I could only think of the “mei” in the name. Now I remember the whole name, and want them more. Damn I want some.

  9. wow…i love yangmei altho sometimes they’re so sour they make you grimace until you can’t grimace anymore…that’s one of the things i miss about china…all those exotic fruits…fresh lychee and long yian…yummm

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  11. yeah, i just found a package of dried yangmei here in Vancouver. When they were dried they were also salted, which seems to bring out the sourness more than the sweetness. They’re prettyt damn good though. I’m anxious to try some fresh or maybe just canned.

  12. Hi,
    I just retuned to Tokyo from a brief visit to Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo and Putou-shan. Everywhere the fresh yangmei were wonderful. Eating fresh ones for the first time, I couldnÕt believe how delicious they were.
    Wondering what to call them in English or Japanese I did a web search and came across this site, the only one I found which was about the fruit yangmei, as distinct from the place Yangmei.
    I wonder whether they are grown anywhere outside of China.

  13. I am from Wenzhou, our city has won the reputation of “The Town of The Yangmei”.
    And now the Yangmei will soon become ripe, people are luck enough to taste the delicious, for this year’s Yangmei growing very well, and it’s so much fruitful.
    People will also hold “Yangmei Culture Days” for celebrating the harvest.
    By that time, you can taste as much as you like after you paid 20Yuan RMB for the entrance ticket.
    Anyway it’s the delicious fruit, some are sweet, some are sour.
    If you have too much, you teeth would not bear even a little Tofu!

    Welcome to Wenzhou,!We will treat you Yangmei if you are coming the right time!-:)

  14. Hi ,
    They are delicious! Have heard only available in Zhejiang Pr.. Found this hard to believe. ..

  15. I would be very careful before eating anything grown in CHINA!

    I keep hearing of pollution and very dangerous river and water pollution so I’d be afraid of these toxins in my fruit or vegetables from there.

    They say that many Chineese farmers are dying of Cancer because of the horrible pollution in rivers, air, and rain.

    THEY DO SOUND great!

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