Fruity Vietnam

November 10, 2009 15 Comments »

I’m a fruit person…I love it, I crave it, I must have it!  One great thing about living in the sweltering Vietnam climate is that the fruit is great all year around!  I would walk through the markets and my eyes would pop seeing so many different kinds of colorful fruit!  Vendors walked the streets daily selling whatever was in season.  The hardest part for me was to figure out what half of the fruit was as much of it was new to my American eyes and palette. 
To assist you as you travel through Vietnam and SE Asia – here’s a little more information about the fruit that you see.  Don’t be afraid to spend the spare change, haggle on a price and try some of these delicious new or old fruits!   (I’ve included the English and Vietnamese name on all of the items!)
bumpy apples:  mang cau tamg

bumpy apples: mang cau tamg

 I love Bumpy Apples!  The hard outer shells are peeled off and expose a firm apple/pear like fruit that’s very sweet.

apples:  tao

apples: tao

Yes – they have apples everywhere!  Now, if I could just figure out how to bake a pie without a stove – I would be really happy!


rambutan:  chom chom

rambutan: chom chom

Rambutan look a bit scarey, but they taste wonderful!  You break off the colorful, hairy outer shell and you get to sweet fruite inside!

water-coconut:  dua-nuoc

water-coconut: dua-nuoc

 Water coconut is a relative to the standard coconut.  You find these in the Mekong Delta and they taste just like a regular coconut!  I have seen these around Saigon for a while now and never knew what they were!  They look quite menacing, but dont’ be afraid to give them a try!

tamarind:  me

tamarind: me

 Tamarind is used for many things, but it can also be eaten plain as a fruit.  You just peel off the hard shell and get to a soft, sticky, red fruit with a small pit in the middle. 

persimmons: hong

persimmons: hong

 Persimmons are filling the markets right now.  They come from Dalt and are juicy and yummy!  They have a few different varieties – soft or crunchy.  I prefer the soft – the texture of a tomato, but taste much sweeter!

longa:  nhan

longa: nhan

For some reason when I eat longa it reminds me of the fall in the US.  Peel off the thin outer shell and eat the fruit inside.  Good, small, sweet treat! 


durian:  sau rieng

durian: sau rieng

 Durian, the king of fruit.  You can read about my experience trying durian here.  You can find it everywhere in the markets now – or should I say – you can smell it everywhere in the markets now!  Eaten alone, in shakes or ice cream – the smelly and squishy fruit is an aquired taste for sure!

coconuts: dua

coconuts: dua

Ah – my favorite!  Coconuts are everywhere in Vietnam!  Cold drinks, jellies, and shakes – you can’t beat the fresh milk!
dragon-fruit:  thanh-long

dragon-fruit: thanh-long

I still remember seeing endless rows of colorful, pink dragon fruit as I road the bus to Mui Ne.  These fruit definitely have personality on the outside – pink leaves tipped with green, but I find the inside a bit bland unless they are eaten in season! 

So – get out to those markets and start buying and trying some of this colorful, delicious fruit!

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