List of exotic fruit names in Vietnam you should try at least once

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Being geographically located in the tropical zone, Vietnam is truly a heaven when it comes to fruits. When you visit Vietnam, here is exotic fruit names you should try, as the exotic flavours and textures are something you simply won’t find back at home.

Tropical fruits flavor is often teh extreme of either sweet or sour, and many comes with a particular fragrance that is unmistakeable. Due to the typical weather conditions, the fruit’s colors are vibrantly eye-catching, with red, yellow and orange among the most popular ones. The abundance of fruits in the region also means that people use fruits in many different ways: eating raw, making juices, mixing salad, preserving jams and many other delicious desserts.

Following is exotic fruit you will be encountering as you make your way to Vietnam; some are probably found town nearby to your residence.

1. Durian

Durians are referred to as “The king of fruit,” probably because of their fierce look and the aroma that, according to many Westerners, is the most terrible smell in the world. Durian has a tough, thorny crust and the fruit sellers usually have to wear gloves when opening them. Otherwise, they can stab their hands and make them bleed. A ripe durian usually weighs between one to two kilograms.

A durian consists of several segments separated into different compartments. The fruit’s large seeds are encased by the edible, eye-catching, bright yellow flesh. You have to use a large knife or scissors to open a durian. You’ll never know how many huge pieces of durian meat you’ll find under that thorny shell until you continue to cut it into smaller parts and look for yourself.

Durian has a very unique and characteristic scent. There are some Vietnamese and Asian people who cannot bear the odor, so it’s no wonder Westerners think that the smell is terrible. In some countries, it’s forbidden to carry durian on public transport or take them into a hotel. Nevertheless, if you are a fruit-aholic, you will enjoy this unusual fruit a lot because nothing compares to its incredible, creamy, sweet flavor.

2. Jackfruit

Jackfruit is the biggest fruit in the world. It has lumpy green peel and comes in many different sizes. Typically a ripe jackfruit weighs from 2 to 3 kg. Farmers commonly use their finger to press around a jackfruit to figure out if it’s soft enough to harvest.

Jackfruit is bright yellow inside. The pieces of fruit are braided together by thin threads, and each one contains a seed of around two centimeters in diameter.

Jackfruit has a powerful scent which you can smell from miles away and a memorable taste and texture – a little bit crunchy, slightly chewy, and as sweet as candy.

3. Dragon fruit

Dragonfruit has a dark pink shell with short green tentacles growing from fruit’s body. The fruits range in diameter from 7 to 10cm. Do you know why they are called dragon fruit? It’s because they look like a dragon head. It’s an interesting name, right?

Dragon fruit is white inside with many tiny black seeds.

Dragon fruit traditionally has a white inside with many tiny black seeds. To enjoy dragon fruit, you need to cut the fruit vertically into two halves. Continue to cut the two pieces to get eight smaller portions which you can comfortably hold in your hand. Gradually remove the peel as you eat each piece or just remove it all at once and enjoy. It tastes succulent, with a slightly sour note, but a little sweet at the same time.

4. Mangosteen

Mangosteens have a perfectly round shape. They are dark purple with a diameter of around 4-5cm, and their green stem looks just like blooming flower petals. The purple peel is quite hard.

The flawless milky white meat fits snugly into the outside peel and is divided into 4 or 5 pieces. The mangosteen’s appearance inside will blow your mind. You can smell the mild aroma of mangosteen as you bring it close to your nose. The texture is a bit soft and chewy. As soon as you take your first bite, the sweetness will overwhelm your mouth. A slightly sour flavor remains on the tip of the tongue even after you swallow it.

5. Rambutan

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Rambutan has a pretty odd appearance, with bright red or half yellow, half red color. It’s round like a chicken egg but has lots of green “feathers” around the outside.

Rambutans are translucent inside, with a fruity taste and crunchy texture. Some rambutans are slightly sour as well. Believe me; the sweet and sour taste is so harmonious, you will never forget what your mouth feels like after eating this popular tropical fruit. You need to peel it before eating, of course! The skin is easy to peel off, either with your fingers or with a knife. Just be careful not to swallow the pit as it’s not edible.

6. Soursop

Soursop has a green skin with many small thorns. When ripe, the skin becomes very thin and you can easily peel it with your hand. Inside, this fruit has white flesh and a lot of black seeds. It has a light sour taste. Depending its stage of ripeness, it will have either a sweet or sour flavor. The more ripe the fruit, the more sweet it tastes. It even smells good!

To eat it, you will peel the skin by hand or with a knife, then eat the flesh and spit out the seeds. Your hands will definitely get dirty when you eat soursop. Besides, soursop is good when blended with ice, and mixed with condensed milk or yogurt.

7. Custard Apple

Custard apple, called Na or Mang cau by the Southern people, is one of the most unique fruits in the country. It doesn’t just stop with its delicate texture and authentically sweet flavor, but it also greatly benefits your health. You can easily find this fruit mostly everywhere, but you will find different types of this apple across Vietnam. There are two types of custard apple in Vietnam, na dai and na bo. Most people prefer na dai because it tastes sweeter and has fewer seeds.

When July arrives, you know it’s time to hunt down the best custard apples! You can recognize them by their brown stalk, round shape, green color, and unique shell that may remind you of the back of a turtle. The riper they become, the more their shells expands, and this particular action is called opening eyes. Moreover, you can easily spot the ripe fruit by its gentle and fragrant aroma that will permeate a garden, and when you peel the outer skin off, what you get will be the sweetest fruit you have ever had the pleasure of trying!

8. Star Apple or Milk fruit

If you love fruit that has a sweet taste, try star apple or milk fruit, especially when you travel to the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Because the flesh of this fruit has a milky flavor, people call it milk fruit in Vietnam.

From the outside, the round shape of the fruit has a green or purple thick skin. Before eating, you will massage the fruit in your hand and gently squeeze it until it cracks. Then, cut it in half and eat the milky flesh by using a spoon or tearing it into pieces. Notice that the second way will make your mouth and hands very sticky since star apple skin contains a lot of latex. A great way to use this fruit is to blend it into a smoothie.

Not only does it taste good, star apple also contains a lot of nutrition like dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, acid amin, and more. It helps prevent many health problems, even colon cancer.

9. Longan

Longan is a popular tropical fruit, which is usually harvested in July and August. It’s loved by many people in Asia. The name long nhan has an interesting meaning, which is dragon eye because when you peel off the skin, the round black seeds and white flesh look like small eyes. However, don’t let the weird appearance fool you as when you give it a try, the unique aroma, pulpy texture, and sweet taste will spread in your mouth. Once you start eating, it’s hard to stop.

There are many ways to eat longan, such as longan sweet soup and lotus seed (a popular dessert in Hue), longan ice-cream topped with peanut is my most favorite flavor that can be found at Kem Nhan Chu Tam (Number 2, Truong Han Sieu, Da Kao Ward, District 1 HCMC), and herbal juice with longan is a great summer drink to try when in Vietnam.

10. Lychee

Originally from the south of China, this unique juicy fruit is favorited by many Asians when summer begins. May of the Lunar calendar is lychee season. The hard red rind that is often spiky usually scares people off. But once you give it a go and peel off the rough skin, you will be surprised by its flowery scent and sweet flesh. Then you can enjoy the white meat as you eat around the seeds.

There are a lot of ways to make use of lychee like lychee and jelly sweet soup, chicken cooked with lychee, duck salad with lychee sauce and more. But I personally like lychee tea and lychee cocktails. So folks, if you go to a pub and see a cocktail with lychee in the recipe, don’t think, just order it and you won’t be disappointed. Nevertheless, don’t eat too much of it otherwise it will cause some bad side effects like acne breakouts.

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