There’s A New Citrus in Town — and It’s a Sumo

The luscious Sumo is a breeze to peel and bursting with super sweet juice.

Nope, there’s no wrestling required to enjoy this new citrus known as the Sumo.

A hybrid, seedless mandarin-orange, it’s as effortless to peel as a tangerine. It’s enormous — about the size of a large orange. With a knob on top like a tangelo and quite bumpy skin, it probably won’t win any beauty awards. But it will floor you with flavor. Its plump segments are loaded with concentrated juice that’s quite tangerine-like, yet with a far higher sugar content. Biting into one is so quenching that it’s like eating a glass of orange juice, if you can imagine that.

Also known as the “Dekopon” in Japan and “Hallabong” in Korea, the Sumo originated in Japan, where perfect ones can be found selling for a staggering $8 a piece in Tokyo gift shops.

The Sumo, which is being grown in California’s Central Valley by a consortium of family farms, is now available in Bay Area stores this year. But don’t worry, you won’t have to pay through the roof for them as you do in Japan. I found mine for $2.99 a pound at Zanotto’s in San Jose last week.

Other stores now selling the new citrus include Mitsuwa, Nijiya, Monterey Market, and Whole Foods.

It's got bumpy skin and a bit of a top knot.

You can practically peel off the entire skin in one fell swoop.

Although the fruit carries a formidable name, it’s actually quite delicate. It must be hand-pruned, hand-picked and hand-packed.

You’ve got to try one. It’s sure to be love at first squirt.

More Fun Citrus: Sweet Liimes

And: Finger Limes

And: Buddha’s Hand

And: Japanese Hoshigaki

Plus: Real Wasabi

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  • A lovely fruit! I didn’t know that variety…



  • Thanks for all the info about sumos! I’ll have to look for them; hubby and the toddler love citrus, and I’m sure they’d love some sumos!

  • Wow I didn’t know there are so many hybrids for oranges! This is definitely new to me πŸ™‚ I’m curious about the finger lime though πŸ˜›

  • How fun. I always enjoy learning about new hybrids and crossbreeds of fruits. I will admit there is part of me that is a purist and gets really excited about heritage and heirloom plants, but the new ones are just so interesting. I was at a food expo the other day and heard about another interesting crossbreed, I only wish I could remember what it was!

  • These sound great. Can’t wait to try them!

  • I’ve seen these before and was always curious about the sugar content. Now I’ll have to try it! πŸ˜‰

  • Carolyn this is neat. You have access to so many fruits and vegetables in California I can only dream about. And $8 a piece in Tokyo gift shops? Wow.


  • I bought two at Olson’s Cherry Orchard last week, and they were both disappointingly tasteless, especially for the price. Even if they were juicier, they didn’t have a compellingly special flavor. Maybe I’ll try Zanotto’s.

  • Another citrus to confuse me! OH NOOooooo!

  • I love it. What a wonderful world we live in where every so often, there’s a new fruit!

  • I just gave you an AWARd, my friend! Come over @ my latest post & check it out!!!!

    I love that fruit too. You can find it over here at the international fruit & veggies market at The south station in Brussels , in summertime. I love its taste a lot!

  • Oh, this is new for me. You are giving me something new to look forward to when I get back home to California! I could go for a Sumo right now.

  • Only available in California? Do we East coasters have an opportunity to try it?

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