Lulo? What is a Lulo?

As I attended a tasting session in the presidential suite at the Hilton Bogotá Corferias hotel property, sections of a small fresh fruit — which reminded me of a cross between a kumquat and a tangerine — sat in a black dish.

Lulo? What is a Lulo?

“Excuse me. What is this?” I asked one of the members of the staff of the hotel property, pointing at this unfamiliar fruit.

“That fruit is called a lulo”, she responded.


Once my answer was confirmed in the affirmative, question marks were once again popping out of my head in different colors, as they did when I first learned of a tree tomato in Nairobi back in 2015 after I had been on safari. I had never heard of the name lulo.

Curious, I took one to sample. Parts of the inside of the fruit was reminiscent of the color of a lime — if you applied a little imagination.

Tasting a Lulo

I then tasted it. My tongue was greeted with a definitively tart flavor with a citrus note that was simultaneously slightly sweet. Like most other citrus fruits, the peel is not edible in its natural state. I actually enjoyed the flavor, as I found it curiously refreshing.

What Is a Lulo — and How Can It Be Used?


This dish known at the Hilton Bogotá Corferias hotel property as Ceviche at Cartagena Style consists of prawns, shrimp, squid, banana land, lulo air, and lulo ice cream. Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Curious, I searched for the term lulo on the Internet and found that it is a nickname for Solanum quitoense, according to this article found at Wikipedia. It is also known as a naranjilla.

Native to countries in northwestern South America, the lulo can be eaten raw on its own; but it is typically used for beverages with and without alcohol…

…but at OKA — which is the restaurant in the Hilton Bogotá Corferias hotel property — the fruit is used in many different types of culinary applications.



Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

As with the aforementioned tree tomato, this is probably one of those fruits to which I have never paid any attention or was not aware; but I would not be surprised if it is destined to one day eventually become as popular as a kiwi fruit.

Have you ever tried a lulo — or naranjilla, as it is known in Ecuador and Panama? If so, what do you think about it?

All photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.


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