When it comes to certain foods, what you see is what you get. If you eat a Granny Smith apple, for example, you would expect it to have the same taste, smell, and texture as the other Granny Smith apples that you’ve had in the past.

After all, for as much as many people like to try new things and experience new flavors, most of the time, we’re not necessarily looking to be surprised by our food. That’s especially true when it comes to raw fruits and vegetables. Let’s face it: when they taste or look odd, that usually means that they’ve spoiled.

One man in China discovered this firsthand. He bit into a tomato and found something quite shocking inside of it—but it wasn’t rotten, and it wasn’t a bug.

Wang Xiaowen, a 24-year-old mechanics major from Shenyang, China, bought a tomato from a local supermarket for two yuan (roughly 29 cents) that looked perfectly fine. It didn’t taste out-of-the-ordinary either.


It wasn’t until Xiaowen took another bite that he realized that, not only were there no seeds inside of it, but there appeared to be a strawberry in the center! He couldn’t believe his eyes, so he showed it to his classmates, none of whom were able to explain this unusual find.


Xiaowen then took to social media for answers, asking his followers on Weibo (China’s version of Facebook) if he should continue to eat the tomato. Ultimately, he decided against it, but didn’t throw it out for a number of days.


Xiaowen started a widespread discussion about the fruit-ception, with a number of theories ranging from cross-pollination to genetic modification. Some people even thought that the “strawberry” might have been the result of a tomato tumor.


Soon enough, experts on China Central Television Station clarified that what Xiaowen photographed was not a strawberry at all. Instead, it was most likely that the strange center was a result of a lack of nutrients as it was being grown, and that the farmer must have used hormones, giving it that dry, red core. The experts even said it should taste perfectly normal!


It should be noted that cases like this have been seen before, but usually, that’s because people don’t realize that they’re eating what are known as stuffing tomatoes, which are hollow inside and often seem to have strawberries at the center as well.


It must have been a relief for Xiaowen to learn that there was nothing technically wrong with eating that tomato, despite the initial surprise of seeing that “strawberry.” What a crazy phenomenon!

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