Mouth-watering early summer fruits available along Hanoi's street side

In my mind, Hanoi is a weird place. It’s weirdness comes from the incredible contradiction inside this land. In particularly, in the middle of the crowded street with incessant noise from vehicles and smoke, all of a sudden, you found strange bamboo frames on the shoulders of women or small carts carrying countryside fruits, to and fro, in such a peacful manner. Nowadays, even though Vietnam has developed with skyscrapers next to each other and the Old Quarter are less mossy, the bamboo frames are still there, a vestige of the past in the middle of modern life, people have still been in a habit of picking up and preserving trivial customs imbued in personal subconscience like watching vendor carts of fruits to tell which season has come… 

Summer also quietly comes to Hanoi when small bikes silently on the other side of the road carry buckets of seasonal fruits, heralding for sale to signals the arrivals of the most exciting days of the year.

1. Nhót - Elaeagnus latifolia fruits

Such reddish, stout and succulent fruits make anyone mouth watering by just thinking of. It’s nothing difficult to find smiley women or men carrying basket of so cute reddish fruits behind. They lie there well-behaved and quitely but look gorgeous enough to warmly solicit anyone passing by.

People love it not only because of its eye-catching beauty and fragrance, but its special flavor, sour and sweet, reminding of peaceful childhood when black trousers were whitened to remove  scab covering outside. Just a small bite is enough to feel the summer scent running through from the tip of the tounge to weasand, then staying there at the bottom of one’s heart to suddenly wake up when summer alarms.

2. Mận - Plums

This easy-to-eat fruits are so familiar that people find it hard to get through without eating one or two plums, even green and sour, at the beginning of the season. Round, purple plums not only follow street vendors along any road or corner of Hanoi but they are also sliced into red pieces, mixed with sugar and chilli salt, showing up on tray, making it irresistible to any craver who’s  fallen in love with its beauty.

Tasty flavor of plums in summer time mainly owes to the mixing technique of ladies and sisters. With the same amount of salt and chilies, it’s still striking different from home-made plums.

3. Dâu tằm - Mulberries

An image that you can not miss in early days of summer in Hanoi is round baskets full of black mulberries. Succulent berries with sweet and delicate flavor are also typical fruits of summer in Hanoi. 

Moms and grandmothers ofter buy mulberries to make syrup for daily treat. One layer of mulberries followed by another layer of sugar kept for weeks in large vase is enough for refreshment of your children after a hard day at school. This is also a cheap but delicious street drink under hot weather.

From siro to cakie hero!

4. Sấu – Dracontomelon

Dracontomelon is one of the most famous fruits of Hanoi. Differing from the above fruits, dracontomelon is really sour and often served as a souring agent or a candied treat. At the early stage of dracontomelon, it is either cooked with soup or made into siro. Especially, dracontomelon can be cooked with pork and herb, making a delicious dish in Hanoians’ traditional meals. Peeled then sugared or salted dracontomelon fruits are the favorite junk food of many people. This process also helps preserve the dracontomelon for a longer time to allow consumption even up to a year when properly stored.

Sugared or salted dry dracontomelon (Vietnamese: Ô mai sấu) is often bought in bulk by tourists as a Hanoi specialty. Meanwhile, the northern people in general and Hanoians in particular prefer using Dracontomelon fruits in sour soup, duck hotpot and especially fruit juice from sugared dracontomelon. In Hanoi, the most beautiful street is Phan Dinh Phung, both side of which stand dracontomelon rows, providing shade for either sunny or rainy days.

5. Cóc – Ambarella

Cóc in Vietnamese is not only one kind of summer fruit but also an amphibian creature known as ‘toad’. So be careful if you go to the market and ask to buy ‘cóc’ in Vietnam. Despite the name similar to an ugly animal, this fruit is enjoyed by most Vietnamese ladies in summer owning to its sourness and good effect for health.

In Vietnam, the fruit is eaten raw or mixed with chili salt; the flesh is crunchy and a little sour. Study has revealed that 100g of ambarella provide 3.2mg iron to supply 18% for the human body. With high contents of fiber and protein, the fruit also stimulates digestion and appetite. That explains somehow why  our young ladies become addicted to ‘cóc’. 

Though rustic, bamboo frames on the shoulders of women is a familiar sight of Hanoi. Besides fruits, the bamboo frames can carry different things: vegetables, even beverages and household items. "What street vendors sell could change from season to season: summer is for tofu and che; in fall there are guavas, pomelos, persimmons; crab soup vermicelli and grilled corn in the winter and plenty of flowers in spring.

These bamboo frames can be the main income for a whole family. They represent the worries of the people who doesn’t have a very well-off life in this modern city. They work hard everyday, every hour to get by, and they deserve respect. We sympathize with them and help them as much as we can. As long as there are still vendors who knows to keep the streets hygienic and don’t do business in prohibited areas, street vendors will always retain as one of the most important culture of Hanoi.''

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2 nhận xét

  1. Aloha from Hawaii! I really enjoyed looking at your website. I got turn learn little bit about the vietnamese cuisine. Thank you !

    1. Hello from Vietnam. It is my great honor to help you learn about Vietnam, our cuisine and culture. Welcome to Vietnam someday to enjoy the real favorite ones. I also wish to visit Hawaii once in my life time