09/09/2009

Fruits of Viet Nam: Guava (Ổi)

A native of the tropical regions in Central America, the guava was introduced to South-East Asia around the 17th century. The guava fruit could either be round or pear-shaped, with thin dark green skin that turns yellowish green as the fruit ripens. Depending on the kind, guavas can vary in size ranging from tomato-like sizes, but could grow as large as 13 cm in diameter. With a light and sweet taste, its flesh could be white or deep-pink and contains a variable number of tiny seeds in its center that could be eaten along.

It could be cut up into parts, but others find eating the guava as whole and taking bitefuls from it more satisfying. Some Vietnamese prefer to eat the guava while it is not yet completely ripe (Ổi sống) together with a dip made of fish sauce (Nuoc Mam), chilli, salt and sugar. Sliced guava is also often dipped in a mixture of salt and grounded red chilli pepper. The Mekong Delta's "Ổi Xá Lị" variety is probably the most famous guava in Vietnam.