Dekopan: Japan’s Designer Orange

 – A dekopan’s signature ‘bump’ –

The secret of the dekopan is spreading like wild fire!  It very recently hit the markets in the States for about $2 each (sold under the name Sumo), which is reasonable compared with the prices here in Japan.  Let me start from the beginning:  dekopan (pronounced: deco-pahn) is a special breed of orange from Japan.  You can spot it by the tell tale bump protruding at the top, which was originally considered unsightly but became the dekopan’s trademark.  They are a little bit smaller than a naval orange, but much bigger than a clementine or mandarin orange.

Although these are almost the size of naval oranges, their skin is so thin similar to a clementine so you can peel it by hand without the help of a knife.  In order to be classified as a dekopan, it has to have a certain amount of sugar and a low citric acid content so they are incredibly sweet and the quality is consistent.  I’ve probably eaten over 50 dekopan, and I’ve never found a seed or any of those dry patches.  They are always plump, amazingly orange in color, and sweet.

Like most fruit in Japan, there are different grades of dekopan, which start at about $1 each and increase in price dramatically.  Even so, the $1 ones are so juicy and sweet.  The season only lasts through April so make sure to get your hands on these before it’s too late!  Along with Japan and the US, plants have also been exported to Korea and Brazil although you might have to pay a week’s allowance for one!


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