This is Highly Recommend, a column dedicated to what people in the food industry are obsessed with eating, drinking, and buying right now.

At the entrance to a small park near my childhood home in Taipei, there stands a particular tree. As a kid, I would stretch my arm as high as I could to touch the clusters of fruit on its branches. They were about the size of baseballs but bell-shaped, with color shades ranging from jade green to red with a light sheen. These were wax apples, one of my favorite fruits, and since I moved to NYC from Taiwan, I’ve been unable to find them. Until I stumbled upon Yun Hai’s dried wax apples.

Even in Taiwan, it is not common to find wax apples sold dried. When eaten fresh, a perfectly juicy wax apple—which despite its apple-like skin is technically a berry—is crunchy, sweet-tart, and refreshing. Biting into Yun Hai’s dried slices, the characteristic green taste was the first thing I noticed, like the crispness of spring, followed by a condensed sweetness and satisfying chewy texture. Not to be an expat cliché, but it did bring a couple of tears to my eyes when I first tried it.

Yun Hai started sourcing wax apples from Taiwanese farmers in 2021, along with pearl guava, golden diamond pineapple, and Irwin mango. They developed this delicious product line to support Taiwanese farmers when China banned imports of Taiwan’s fruits as part of escalating political tensions in the region. Working directly with farmers in Taiwan who are affected by the ban, they hope to help reduce Taiwanese farmers’ dependency on trade with China, creating new ways to share these amazing fruits with the world.

Perhaps I’m biased, but Taiwan, with its subtropical climate, really has some of the best quality fruits I’ve ever tasted. Yun Hai has managed to capture all the sweetness and aroma of Taiwanese produce in its dried form—but it’s not just the flavor they packaged. Yun Hai is selling the diaspora’s nostalgia for Taiwan. Even when dried, their wax apples bring me right back home, to my childhood park with the special tree at the entrance.