The pomelo is native to Southeast Asia, and grows wild on river banks in Fiji, Tonga, and Hawaii. It may have been introduced into China around 100 B.C. It is widely cultivated in southern China (Jiangsu, Jiangxi, and Fujian Provinces) and especially in central Thailand on the banks of the Tha Chin River; also in Taiwan and southernmost Japan, southern India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, Tahiti, and the Philippines. It is also grown commercially (on a limited scale for ethnic and specialty grocers) elsewhere, particularly California, Florida, and Israel. Because of this limited production, pomelos typically sell for about 2 dollars apiece in the USA.
The pomelo is also known as a shaddock, after an English sea captain, Captain Shaddock, who introduced the seed to the West Indies in the 17th century from the Malay Archipelago. In the Pacific and Asia, it is known as jabong and in Chinese it is called yòuzi
The pulp colour ranges between clear pale yellow to pink to red, and tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit - it has very little or none of the common grapefruit's bitterness, but the membranes of the segments are bitter and usually discarded. It is the largest citrus fruit, growing as large as 30 cm in diameter and weighing as much as 10 kg; the peel is thick, and is sometimes used to make marmalade. One way to eat the pomelo is to remove the rind, then peel the segments themselves to obtain the juice vesicles or 'flesh' (see Gallery, below). Another way is to blend the fruit including its white membranes, to produce a purée. Candied then dipped in chocolate, the rind makes a magnificent grapefruity confection.
The finest variety (at least per California citrusmen) is considered to be the Chandler, which has a smoother skin than many other varieties. The photo above shows an almost-ripe Chandler (though it would still be good eating). In Vietnam, a particularly well known variety called bưởi Năm Roi is cultivated in the Vinh Long Province of the Mekong Delta region.
The tangelo is a hybrid between the pomelo and the tangerine. It has a thicker skin than a tangerine and is less sweet.
The peel of the pomelo is also used in Chinese cooking or candied. In general, citrus peel is often used in southern Chinese cuisine for flavouring, especially in sweet soup desserts.