Vietnam Embassy in Stockholm

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TROPICAL FRUITS

MANGO (xoai)

Mango plants, xoai in the Vietnamese language, are grown in most southern provinces. The most reputed mangoes come from Cao Lanh distric in Dong Thap province.

When the fruits are ripening they need large amount of bright sunshine. The more sunshine the maturing fruit receives, the stronger its flavour wiil be and the brighter its skin will look.

Mangoes are divided into several kinds, known locally as the xoai cat, xoai tuong, xoai voi, xoai xiem and xoai ngua, to cite just a few. The finest mango is xoai cat. The fruit has a brighter yellow peel and a rounder shape and weighs as much as kilograms.

The meat is tendered, sweeter and more fragrant than that of other varieties.

Connoisseurs are said to find it hard to forget the test xoai cat has to offer.

RAMBUTAN (chom chom)

A ranbutan tree has a broad foliage and many branches. The tree yields fruit at the beginning of the rainy season in the southern provinces. The chom fruit season finishes at the end of the rainy season (from May to October).

The skin of the fruit is tough, thick and hairy. Its meat is transparent white and tender, and has a cool sweet teste in the mouth. The kind of rambutan most reputed nation-wide is grown in Binh Hoa Phuoc in Long Ho distric in Vinh Long province, some 50km north of Ho Chi Minh City. There are more than 200 hactares of rambutan orchards in Binh Hoa Phuoc village. Average yields are estimated at 10 tonnes per hactar. The village who grown rambutan trees earn as much as VND 6 billion (roughly US$ 600,000) per crop.

During the rambutan season one can notice the typical bright red colour of rambutan fruit stands located in the markets or along road intersections throughout the southern provinces.

MANGOSTEEN (mang cut)

The name and the shape of this fruit do not look attractive to those who first see it.
The fruit is as big as a tennis ball and has the dark violet and rough skin. Yet, when you peel off the upper part of the fruit with a small sharp knife and lift the upper part off you can see the transparent white pulp inside arranged in equal segments.

Just lifting segment by segment of such transparent white meat to the mouth you can imagine of having a light and pure refreshment with an easily acceptable litter sour taste lingering in you mouth.

STAR APPLE ( vu sua)

No better word than the word marvellous can be used as to praise the one who had given this kind of tropical fruit the name vu sua (milk from the breast).
Upon entering an orchard of star apple trees the most regionally famous of which are located in Can Tho province in the Mekong River Delta, visitors can see for themselves hundreds of star apples hanging suspendedly from branches. The round and smooth fruits are of the same size.
The shape of the star apple only may as well match the name attached to it let alone its juice as fragrantly sweet, purely white as the milk from the breast.
If visitors are strange to the region, they would be guided by locals on how to enjoy the fruit because a stranger will certainly tack a sharp knife and peel the fruit which may then make the precious juice inside to be drip off wastefully. Therefore when using the knife to cut the fruit it is advisable to cut the fruit into two parts before using a spoon to take out the pulp bit by bit until nothing is left.
The most appreciated way to enjoy the fruit by orchard owners is to it the fruit in whole. That is to drill a small hole at the top of the fruit and lift it to the mouth and raise the head backward to suck the flow of the fragrant juice into the mouth continuously as if a baby sucking milk from its mother's breast. One thing you should remember is that before taking in the juice like that you must squeeze the tough fruit for a while until it becomes tendered so that the juice can mix with the meat of the fruit to become a sweet and fragrant muddy substance that looks like milk from the breast.

DURIAN (sau rieng)

You may wonder why this kind of fruit has to bear such a austere name sau rieng (ones'own sorrows). If you are curious enough, let's travel to orchard provinces in southern Vietnam and the locals are likely to recite to you an immortal love story. Long ago there lived a young couple in the region. Because of some social prejudices that could not be over come the couple had to find their death to be faithful to their love for ever. Their own sorrows have received the populace's sympathies and the story of their straggly has been handed down from generation to generation. To commemorate the couple locals have named their one of the local valuable fruits sau rieng.

Durian is an expensive fruit. One durian fruit is from five to six times larger then a mangosteen. Its skin is thick, rough and covered with sharp thorns. Yet, with a gentle cut between the edges of the outer shell you can easily open the fruit to see layers of brightly yellow segments of meat as if the pulpits covered with a thin layer of butter.

Literature writer Mai Van Tao one wrote about the particularly good smell of durian. He said: "The dense fragrance which spreads near and far and lingers a long time before did appearing. The strong smell can go straight to your nostrils when you are still as far as several dozen metres away from where the fruit is. The fragrance of durian is a mixture of smell coming from a ripening jack fruit and that of a shad dock. Moreover it also has a strong smell that foreign-made cheese has to of a hen's egg. Others add more traits to the fruit as it also has the sweet like that of well-kept honey. All that combine have made durian to have made durian to have a specially tempting smell... Those who have not enjoyed the fruit for one could find it hard to eat. Yet, one they have tried it they are likely to seek for it happily...". 

PINEAPPLE (dua)

Pineapple plants are grown widely in the country. The high time for the ripening of this tropical fruit coincides with the summer time when hours of sunshine are longer. People in southern Vietnam usually call this tropical fruit as trai thom (fragrant fruit) which is literally precise quote for the fruit because anyone who first takes a bite of the fruit can surely feel the strong sweet smell come to his or her nostrils longer than that of some other fruits, makes connoisseurs find it hard to forget.
Pineapple is processed for different products such as canned pineapple, pineapple liquor and sweet preserved pineapple. There is a special juicy drink exists only in pineapple growning areas. Growers press the fruit to get the juice which is then mixed with the yoke of a hen's egg before being stirred thoroughly to become a muddy drink. The drink is said to be very sweet, butterfly and nutritious.

PHUC TRACH SWEET POLEMO (buoi duong phuc trach)

There are several kinds of polemo regionally famous for their taste and each of the fruit is named after the locality where it is grown. These polemo include buoi Doan Hung, buoi Phuc Trach, buoi Bien Hoa, and buoi Thuan Hai, to cite just a few.

On you way from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh on the train you are sure to stop at Phuc Trach station in Huong Pho distric on the central coast. And one of the few food specialities offered to you passengers by local vendors is the local polemo commonly called as buoi Phuc Trach. The strong fragrance that the fruit boasts is likely to make you never forget the name of the fruit.

People call sweet polemo because when it is eaten its taste that lingers in the mouth makes connoisseurs taste lightly sweet the sensation of which takes a long time to fade away and help the connoisseurs feel energetic.
The Phuc Trach polemo has been famous widely in the country after it was awarded a medal at a national fruit fair organised in 1938. Phuc Trach polemos have been exported to Hong Kong. The Far East Economic Review remarked: "In Vietnam's central coast there is a particularly delicious polemo. Kept after a while the juice in the polemo segments becomes muddy as if it is some sort of sugar itself. You can try the fruit as much as you can."

LONGAN (Nhan)

Longan trees are grown in a large number in the northern provinces whereas few are planted in the southern part. The most famous Longan comes from former Hung Yen province (now the present-day Hai Hung province). In the old days Hung Yen Longan was among the food items reserved as tributes to the kings.
The fruit is a small as the tip of the thumb. Inside the thin and lightly brown skin is the transparency white pulp which covers a smaller glossy black seed. The thicker the pulp the juicier, and more fragrant and crisp the pulp becomes. And it is the best Longan.

Longan is a kind of rich protein fruit. It is usually made one of the main ingredients to make lotus seed added Longan sweet soup which is very precious for refreshments in summer. Seedless Longan, when being dried, is called dried Longan. This is a very fine choice for connoisseurs.

THIEU LITCHI (Vai thieu)

Thieu is name dedicated to a special kind of litchi grown in Hung Yen province. Thieu litchi is a bit bigger than a Longan. Unlike the skin of Longan which is rather smooth, the skin of litchi is rough with some ripples. The skin is dark red.

The meat of a litchi is transparency white but it is thicker than that of a Longan, therefore litchi meat is juicier than that of a Longan. Litchi seed is also smaller than Longan seed.
Thieu litchis are grown in many big orchards in Hung Yen province.