|By goGreen | June 5, 2012|
VIETNAM — One major interest of ours during our recent trip to Vietnam was to sample their fruits in season. The trip was part of our prize for winning in the Bright Leaf Journalism Award under the auspices of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation.
Many of the fruits in season are quite familiar but they are much more expensive compared to the prices in Thailand. The mangosteen in the sidewalk fruit stalls in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is truly unaffordable to ordinary people. Imagine, a kilo of mangosteen was selling at 300,000 dong which is equivalent to US$15.
The only cheap fruit we saw at the Ben Than market is the dragon fruit. One kilo was selling at only the equivalent of P65 in our Philippine money. The fruits are big, about 400 to 500 grams per piece but this is the white variety. We were not able to locate the purple-fleshed variety which is much sweeter.
What we enjoyed sampling most was their atis which is very fleshy and very sweet. One kilo cost us 50,000 dong or the equivalent of US$2.50. Not really bad for the quality that we got. The Vietnam atis looks very much like the Philippine atis although there is a difference. You can’t just break open the ripe fruit the way we do with our Philippine atis. The skin is peeled off, and you have to bite the skinless fruit whole. While there are many seeds, these are much smaller than those of our native variety. We counted 65 seeds from one big fruit.
Of course, we have already planted the seeds and we will find out a couple of years from now how they will fare in the country. We are sure, of course, there should be no problem growing the Vietnam atis in the Philippines.
Vietnam is a major producer of longan. We find trees growing in every yard in homes in the South such as My Tho and Can Tho. This is not, however, the season although there are a few fruits that are available. The variety that we bought was much bigger than the longan we usually import from Thailand. One kilo that cost us US$4.50 consisted of about 30 fruits.
The longan we bought tasted very good. Although the seeds were rather big, there was ample flesh that was juicy and with a refreshing flavor.
Durian is also available in the markets of Ho Chi Minh at this time of the year although it is not the peak season. The fruits are of the good kind, fleshy and taste somewhat like the Golden Pillow from Thailand. The fruits are quite expensive, however. One kilo, unshelled, sells for the equivalent of US$5.
The Vietnamese pink guava has very distinct pleasant aroma. It is smaller than the variety we call “guapple” in the Philippines but it is also very nice to eat. The fruit is fine-textured and with not so many seeds. We counted less than 30 very small seeds from one fruit. One kilo of this variety costs the equivalent of US$2.
The improved varieties of makopa are also produced commercially in Vietnam. One of the varieties now available in the market is the Star Ruby variety developed in Thailand. This has red shiny fruits that are fleshy and sweet.
This variety was introduced in the Philippines about four or five years ago and some of the trees are now bearing fruits. It is being propagated in big numbers at the Teresa Orchard and Nursery in Teresa, Rizal.
At a fine-dining restaurant we sampled their Nam Roi variety of pummelo. This is a white variety that is very juicy and sweet. One good thing about this is that its flesh readily separates from its covering. The other superior pummelo variety is called Da Xanh which has light red flesh. Both varieties are now being propagated in Teresa, Rizal.
SOURCE: Manila Bulletin