High price of Japanese melon shocks Malaysians

It’s common to see fruits as toppings for frozen yoghurts and ice cream as healthier alternatives to sprinkles or chocolate syrup. They usually cost more than the latter options too – which is not all surprising, as fruits stocked at grocery stores are usually imported and fetch hefty price tags even in bundle form.

But that doesn’t mean that we don’t bat an eyelid at exceptionally high prices for fruits when we encounter them. This includes this Malaysian woman, who shared how she almost purchased a Japanese red melon priced at RM250 each at Don Don Donki, a Japanese discount store at Lot 10, for her pet hedgehog. Many Malaysians were humoured by the story, and also shocked to see just how pricey a melon could be.

Snack for hedgehog almost turns out to be a pricey affair

Netizen Jia Qian Ng took to her Facebook page on 3rd April 2021 to share how she came across the expensive fruits while shopping at Don Don Donki. According to the caption, she had planned to buy the Japanese melon for her hedgehog “son” as a treat, as she thought it was only priced at RM25/each.

Woman surprised by price of Japanese melon - Don Don Donki
Image credit: Jia Qian Ng

While placing the fruit in her shopping basket, however, she noticed an aunty looking at her in disbelief. This made her look again at the price tag for the fruit, to which she took notice of the “extra zero” on the price tag that meant each melon actually cost RM250 each.

Fortunately, she shared that she realised this before checking out at the cashier.

Netizens also shocked by price of Japanese melon

Her post, which garnered over a thousand shares and reactions, had many coming out to share their own surprise at seeing the lavishly priced fruit at the Japanese discount store. Some even joked that the fruit should be treated like an expensive, fragile item that’s considered sold once broken because of its price, with netizen Chai Yi commenting, “You should steadily hold [the fruit] when you’re returning it to the shelf, or else, when it falls…”

 Woman surprised by price of Japanese melon - comment
Image adapted from: Chai Yi 

But she wasn’t the only one on the boat who had an “encounter” with the expensive fruit without knowing its price tag beforehand either, with another Facebook user, Shereen Roh, commenting, “Happened to me when I ordered a [melon] slice for RM60, and not knowing the price beforehand.”

Woman surprised by price of Japanese melon - comment
Image adapted from: Shereen Roh 

Among the sea of comments, others have also been sharing how the price of the fruit was worth its taste, and that it’s not so uncommon to see 3-digit prices for the melons. Netizen, Demie Lim, for one, shared a picture of a similar Japanese melon imported from Japan that was selling for RM218 at Jaya Grocer, a well-known grocery store.

Woman surprised by price of Japanese melon - comment
Image credit: Demie Lim

Over 100 days to grow, and carefully polished and massaged by farmers

Prices for melons in Japan are generally pricey. This is because of various reasons – including the effort put in by farmers in Japan to harvest spotless, round melons and how they are used as gifts for significant events, as reported by Japan Truly. According to Japan Times, a pair of premium melons were even auctioned off for ¥5 million (~RM187,949).

While these melons can grow year long, it takes over a hundred days for each fruit to grow. They are also carefully looked after by farmers, who massage and polish the fruits – which is said to level up the sweetness in them. The melons are also wrapped by hand for them to get their signature “net” skin, as reported by Business Insider. Not sold like other fruits in grocery store aisles either, they often come in gift boxes lined with cloth or hay.

Woman surprised by price of Japanese melon - fruit
Image credit: Mono

But it’s not just in Japan where these fruits are being grown. Malaysian farmers are also cultivating Japanese melons in Putrajaya, as reported by Malay Mail. Over 10,000 melons, specifically muskmelons – a species of melon that’s similar to pumpkins and watermelons – are being grown by Mono Premium Melon in greenhouses. The same techniques of harvesting, including polishing and massaging, are also carried out here, and the melons are sold for around RM168 each.

Malaysians shocked at price of Japanese melon

We’re used to seeing fruits sold in the 2-digits at most, and rarely over RM100, at grocery stores and supermarkets we frequent to restock our pantries. At most, honeydew melons, with a smooth white or yellowish skin, common in Malaysia are sold around RM3-RM9 per kg too. So we understand Malaysians who were more than shocked to see Japanese melons priced at RM250 at Don Don Donki, and salute the efforts of the farmers who harvested these melons.

Read more here:

Cover image adapted from: Jia Qian Ng and Mono

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