10/02/2009

Fruits of Viet Nam: Waterapple (Quả Roi, Quả mận)

A bell-shaped fruit, mostly 5cm in diameter, the Waterapple is abundant in Vietnam, its neighbours in Southeast Asia as well as in the Pacific Islands. It may be named waterapple, but it does not, in any way, taste like an apple. The fruits’ color could vary from pale green to ruby red, though sweetest when at its red-most. With a few brown seeds found in its hollow core that sometimes contain a loose weave of cotton candy-like mesh, its white wooly fibrous flesh holds a thirst-relieving juice that is slightly acidic but refreshing to the taste. Its flavour is likened to that of a snow pear, but with slight hint of bitter aftertaste. When young, the waterapple could be very sour. Because of its vibrant color, the subtle sheen of its outer texture and its unique shape, it is popularly used in the country to adorn altars.

The waterapple could be eaten in a variety of ways. Most would prefer to cut the fruit in parts, but those who greatly enjoy the appeal of the bell-shape would rather eat is as whole, taking bitefuls from it. Chilled or fresh, having a taste of the waterapple is always a delightful experience. Its seeds are not edible, though, so be careful not to swallow them.