May 15, 2018
I was born in the Mekong Delta Area which is known as a paradise for fruits. The tropical climate, an abundant supply of water from the Mekong River, the skilled farmers and other natural resources have contributed to the rich variety of fruit in this area. Although you can find many kinds of fruit almost everywhere across Vietnam, I guarantee you that the taste will definitely not be as memorable as it is when you try the tropical fruit of the Mekong Delta Area. I prefer to visit the fruit orchards myself to enjoy the juicy fresh fruits just picked from the branches. A few months ago, I visited a star apple orchard near my grandparents’ house. I was overwhelmed by the numerous star apples on the trees. I just needed to raise my hand a little to pluck a star apple from the tree. I couldn’t stop eating them because the sweetness and freshness helped cool my body temperature in the hot weather. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Mekong Delta Area has become attractive among tourists thanks to being naturally blessed with many different types of fruit. Therefore, I would like to introduce my most favorite fruits which are Mận (water apple), Đu đủ (Papaya), Vú sữa (star apple), Xoài (mango) and Mít (Jackfruit)
1. Mận (Water Apple)
Mận (Credit to Antti)
If you have visited the North of Vietnam before, you might have heard of “Mận”, a fruit unique to the north. That “Mận” is in the north known as Plum which is different from “Mận” – known as Water Apple in the Mekong Delta Area despite having the same Vietnamese name. Mận or Water Apples taste juicy, crispy with a hint of sweetness which helps quench your thirst in the heat. Mận will increase your appetite thanks to its intriguing colors ranging from red, white to green. The most popular type of Mận that you can find in almost any street or local market is Mận “An Phước” with a color like red rose. People love Mận “An Phước” thanks to its thick seedless flesh. And it is often eaten dipped in salt and pepper or chili.
2. Đu đủ (Papaya)
Papaya (Credit to VERODAR)
If you like sweet things, you should try Papaya when travelling to the Mekong Delta. Papaya has a sweet smell and benefits your health as it offers various minerals and vitamins, such as vitamins A and C. Papaya is suitable for adults on a diet as it does not contain much sugar. In the south, one of the popular varieties of papaya is one with yellow skin and a red, thick pulp. Papaya is mostly grown in the Mekong Delta Region. Unripe papaya can also be used for cooking such as in soups, pickles, and salads (known as “gỏi đu đủ” in Vietnamese).
3. Vú sữa (Star Apple)
Star Apple (Credit to pet.lukky)
Vú sữa means literally “milk from a mother’s breast” in English. Every Vietnamese from old to young all know the story behind this name. Once upon a time, there was a son who was very selfish and ignorant while his mother adored him with all her heart. The son was too cold-hearted and he left his mom to join a group of his friends from other villages. As time passed he felt exhausted by his long journey. He decided to return home to find his mom but he became lost and did not see her again. He found only a tree with its fruits tasting as sweet as a mother’s milk. So people named it as “Vú sữa” (Mother’s milk / breast milk). You might feel curious about testing this theory.. Why don’t you try one and decide for yourself?. But one thing is for sure, you will fall in love with this fruit.
4. Xoài (Mango)
A lady is picking mangos on the tree (Credit to Lai Buu)
Actually, I haven’t met anyone who says no to mango, thanks mainly to its tempting fragrance. Xoài or Mango is among the most popular fruits in the Mekong Delta Area. If you visit the countryside, you will see as least one mango tree in each house’s garden. The unripe Mango can be used as a favourite ingredient for a delicious salad dish. A few years ago, a street food called “Xoài lắc” or “Shaked Mango” has become favorite among teenagers. “Xoài lắc” is a mixture of unripe mango, sugar and a the special salt and chili mix. While unripe mango is crispy and quite sour, ripe mango is soft and sweet with a thick yellow flesh. In the Mekong Delta, mango is abundant from February to May. You can find them in other months but its taste is less authentic than during its season.
5. Mít (Jackfruit)
Slides of Jackfruit (Credit to Ravenous Couple)
If people call durian as the king of fruit, I want to name Mít as the queen of fruit. You should not take any piece of durian or jackfruit on public transport because of its unique but totally pungent smell. Jackfruit has a spiky crust but is smaller and softer than durian. In the inner part of the fruit, there are many fleshy yellow knots covering the seeds. Interestingly, even the seeds can be eaten when boiled or roasted and they taste just like potato and they also have health benefits. Unlike durian with its intense aroma, jackfruit has a more pleasant scent which is liked by almost everyone, even those who can’t stand the durian’s smell. Some people describe the taste of jackfruit as a cross between mango and pineapple.
Image Featured:Fruits seller (Credit to Andrew Hux)