Mãng Cầu Ta - Sweet-Sop
Sweet-sop, sugar-apple, and custard-apple are names given to this fruit from South America. Like the pomegranate, the sweet-sop is packed with seeds. The edible pulp is a thin layer covering the individual seed. The outer layers appear to be rough and scaly. The fruit is green even when it is ripe.
Longan - Nhãn
In Vietnamese, "long nhan" means dragon eye. The Longan is a close relative to the litchi. Longans are grown mostly in the cooler highlands of South-East Asia. It was brought here by Chinese immigrants as they migrated south and settled in various areas. The meat is translucent white and is very juicy and sweet. In Vietnam, dried longans are cooked in water to make a dessert drink called 'nuoc long nhan'.
Star Fruit - Khế
The starfruit is a native fruit of South-East Asia. The fruit has a distinct taste and is often used in cooking. When sliced cross-wise, the pieces look like five distinct-angled stars. The fruit is green when young, turning yellow to almost orange and slightly translucent when ripe. Starfruit's skin is quite tough while the flesh is soft, juicy, sweet and sour tasting.
Rambutan - Chôm Chôm
The Rambutan, also known unofficially as Hairy Cherry, has its origin in the tropical low-lands of Malaysia. The name rambutan came from the Malay word 'rambut' for hair. Today, the rambutan is grown in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The fruit is about 5 cm long and has soft fleshy hair from 2 to 3 cm long over the entire surface. The peel turns from green to yellow to red as the fruit ripens. Once peeled the fruit yields a flesh that is white and firm. The rambutans grow in large bunches on trees that are 20 m high.
Guava - Ổi
The guava originated in the tropical region of the Americas to South-East Asia in the 17th century. Guava fruits are either round or pear-shaped, with thin dark green skin which becomes yellowish green as the fruits ripen. The fruits range from small tomato size to as large as 13 cm in length.
Some Vietnamese like to eat the guava when it is not completely ripe. The flesh is crunchy much like eating a slice of apple. Sometime, the guava slice is dipped in a mixture of salt and grounded red chili pepper.
Waterapple - Roi or Mận
The waterapple is native to the South-East Asia. The coloring of the fruit varies from pale green to ruby red. The waterapple is bell-shaped and is about 5 cm in diameter. The waterapple has a slightly acid flavor and can be very sour. Vietnamese often use the waterapplase as offerings at the altar because of their vibrant colors.
Papaya - Đu Đủ
The papaya originated in Central America, and came to the Philippines during the Spanish occupation of this country. The fruit eventually spread throughout South-East Asia. The papaya tree bears only either male or female flowers with the female tree producing the fruits. Consequently, the male tree must be close by to pollinate the female flowers.
The fruits are large, weighing up to 9 kg and often look like a large squash. The skin is thin like those of the watermelon and turns from green to yellow and orange as the fruit ripens. The flesh of the papaya may be yellow, orange, or reddish orange and has a consistency of a very ripe (soft) cantaloupe. Papayas are sweet and are used as dessert.
In Vietnam, a popular dish using green papaya is "gỏi đu đủ bò khô", a salad like dish with shredded green papaya and shredded beef jerky eaten with a special hot sauce.
Jackfruit - Mít
The Jackfruit is a native fruit of Asia. It has its origin in India, though after many centuries of trade, it reached South-East Asia where it is considered a delicacy. Jackfruits come in many shapes and sizes, although generally they are oblong or pear shaped. They can grow to 90 cm long and can weigh up to 44 kg. The name Jack is believed to be a Portuguese mispronunciation of a Malay word meaning round.
Jackfruits have a thick pale green rind with thousands of sharp hexagonal spines. Once cut open, the interior yields dozens of individual golden yellow pulps. The meat of the pulp covers a large brown pit. When ripe, the meat is sweet. The pit can be boiled and eaten as well. The wood from the jackfruit tree is very strong. Sometimes, it is used to make furniture and to build houses. In the north, the wood from the jackfruit tree is carved into statues in pagodas.