6. Thanh long (dragon fruit)
Dragon fruit has a beautiful pink skin with a few green scales. Although the skin looks soft and juicy, it is inedible.
In Vietnam, the flesh of this fruit can be either white or red. It is soft and very juicy, with a lightly sweet taste and has no smell. The little black seeds, like sesame, are edible and said to be good for digestion.
The fruit is mostly planted in Binh Thuan Province, home to the resort town of Mui Ne. It is so popular you can buy it anywhere now.
It is quite easy to cut open a dragon fruit. You can then remove the flesh by peeling the skin or simply scoop it out with a spoon.
7. Mít (jackfruit)
Although jackfruit looks somewhat similar to the prickly durian, its has a more pleasant smell.
The sweet taste of jackfruit can be addictive, but remember not to eat too much as it may cause digestion problems.
In Vietnam, there are several varieties of jackfruit, but the most popular one is the crunchy and dry jackfruit, as opposed to a variety that is very sticky.
Street vendors usually give you small boxes containing ready-to-eat bulbs. Some still leave the large seeds inside, but all you have to do is to remove them from the yellow flesh.
If you buy a whole jackfruit, it can be a real headache.
When cut, the fruit releases latex and it can’t be easily rinsed off. Rub your hands and the knife with oil before cutting, or wear disposable gloves. Cut jackfruit lengthwise and then remove the core and the fibrous strands. Voila, those delicious fleshy bulbs are ready.
8. Bòn bon (langsat)
Langsat is one of the lesser-known fruits in Vietnam. These small, translucent, orb-shaped fruits can be quite sour before ripe, but are perfectly sweet and juicy when ripe.
Langsat is sold in bunches. Just peel the skin and you will see the very soft flesh. Remember to discard the seeds, if there are any.
The fruit may be a bit sticky as there is latex inside its skin. You should be careful not to let the latex touch your clothes.
9. Vải (lychee)
Summer is the season of lychee.
Although lychee is mostly cultivated in the north, you can easily buy it across the country.
The fruit is extremely juicy, sweet and easy to eat. Just remove the crispy red skin with your fingers, as if you are peeling an boiled egg, and then suck the tasty white flesh.
Lychee cannot be kept long, so you’d better store it in the fridge. If the skin has dark blotches or turns pale, it is no longer fresh.
10. Na/Mãng cầu (custard apple)
Custard apple is very popular given its tastetiness and health benefits.
When a custard apple is ripe, its skin becomes soft and easy to peel. Then you can bite directly into the white sweet flesh, or scoop it out with a spoon. Remember to spit the hard black seeds out. There will be many seeds in one custard apple.
If a custard apple is hard, it means it is not ripe. Wait for a few days in room temperature and it will get soft and ready to be served.
Custard apples do not stay fresh for very long. Treat them like how you treat bananas.
The flesh is thick and creamy. It is this custard-like texture that gives the fruit its name.
Many Vietnamese people believe the best custard apple is the one with big scale-like sections on its skin. They call those green lumps “eyes” of the custard apple. They say a custard apple is ripe when its “eyes” are wide open.
11. Hồng xiêm (sapodilla)
Sapodilla is a popular tropical fruit, especially in Southeast Asia. This round or oval-shaped fruit is very soft and sweet. But if it is not ripe, the latex inside the flesh makes the fruit inedible. This kind of latex is called chicle – a natural ingredient used in making chewing gum and other products.
Usually a sapodilla is ripe when it turns soft. If it is hard, keep it in room temperature for a few days until it gets soft.
Covered by a thin skin, sapodilla is easy to peel. The hard black seeds inside the flesh are inedible.
When you buy sapodillas, you should pick the ones with brown yellowish skin, not the green ones, unless you can wait for a few days.
Because of its thin and soft skin, it does not have a very long shelf life.
Check out the first part to see even more exotic fruits that you would want to try in Vietnam.