10/02/2009

Fruits of Viet Nam: Sapodilla (Hồng Xiêm, Sa Pô Chê)

Originally from Central America, Sapodilla was introduced to Vietnam for a long time now. However, it was only during the recent decades that this fruit was widely planted and cultivated in the country. Two popular species of sapodilla grows in Viet Nam, the orange pulp and the other, with a white-yellowish pulp. Shaped like an egg, weighs around 100 grams and measuring 4-8 cm in diameter, this fruit resembles smooth-skinned potatoes.

Its yellowish-brown slightly granular pulp looks similar to overripe pears and has a nice peculiar smell to it. It is juicy and has an exceptionally sweet taste which could be overly sweet and juicy, malty and caramel-like when ripened too much. Since its skin and seeds are inedible, this fruit is best eaten when sliced into parts, and served fresh or chilled.

The Sapodilla tree grows to 3-4 m tall and yields fruit twice a year, though flowering may continue year round. It is wind-resistant and can only survive in warm, typically tropical environments. It takes about 6 years for a Sapodilla tree to bear fruits.