To cool down in sweltering temperatures that often reach the 90s, the Vietnamese look to fresh, tropical fruits—lots of them, all the time. In Vietnam, a brightly-colored platter of sliced fruit starts and ends the day. Vietnam’s savory breakfasts aren't complete without an assorted fruit plate along with fresh smoothies, and since we’re not big on super-sweet confections, fruits also make up the bulk of our end-of-dinner refreshments.
Fruit is as much a part of Vietnamese street food culture as noodle soup and banh mi. Hawkers can be found manning stalls and pushing wooden carts on nearly every street, selling fresh fruit for a few bucks apiece. And fruits pop up in so many different forms in Vietnamese cuisine: smoothies, fresh-pressed juices, ingredients for salad, and in traditional desserts. They’re so significant to everyday Vietnamese life that many of our folk tales and origin stories revolve around a fruit. There’s even an annual Fruit Festival in Saigon, at the famed Suoi Tien Park, to celebrate them.
With the myriad of colors, smells, and shapes, shopping for fruit in Vietnam can be a little overwhelming. To help you get started, here’s the ultimate SAVEUR guide to 18 delicious fruits you’ll find in Vietnam.