From the outside, a watermelon radish looks like any other pale root vegetable, but slice it in half and uncover vibrant coloration ranging from hot pink to orange.
This rosy radish is an heirloom variety of the daikon. Although its color can resemble a watermelon, the flavor is mildly peppery and just slightly sweet.
Its striking appearance is what’s propelling its spread on menus, particularly in salads and side dishes, and as a garnish. And why it’s this week’s Datassential Flavor of the Week.
Marketing research firm Datassential reports that although the watermelon radish is found on only 1.5% of American menus, that figure is more than a 160% jump from four years ago. More than 30% of consumers know about this flavor, and nearly 15% have tried it, according to Datassential.
Learn more about this flavor — and ingredient — by clicking through the slideshow. And how restaurants are using watermelon radishes in salads, and tacos too.