Mangosteen – Măng cụt
The Mangosteen is a fruit that is unique to South-East Asia. The fruit is extremely hard to grow and it often takes 8-15 years for a tree to bear fruits. The rind of the mangosteen is dark purple marked by a yellowish resin. In terms of size and shape, the mangosteen is similar to the Japanese persimmon. It is also compared to a small tomato.
When sliced at the equator, the mangosteen yields white segments of flesh. These segments taste sweet and sour and have a slight acid after-taste similar to grapes or strawberries.
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.
Sapodilla – Sa Pô Chê
Sapodilla is one of several fruits which were brought to South-East Asia from Central America. During their occupation of the Philippines, the Spaniard brought this fruit to the country and eventually it was exported to the rest of region.
When ripe, the fruit is very sweet, and has a molasses-like taste. The peel is thin and brown and the flesh itself is light brown. It is best eaten a couple days after it is picked, to wait for its resin to dry.