Southeast Asia is home to an abundance of delicious tropical fruits. They vary in stunning color, form, and taste but can sometimes be intimidating to those who have never tried them before. Vietnam is no exception to this, with over 20 different kinds of unique tropical Vietnamese fruits, most of which are unheard of by foreigners!
When visiting Vietnam it is just as important to try some of the local fruit as it is to try some local dishes like pho. Some fruits on this list are rarely found outside of Asia and what better time to give them a try than on your trip to Vietnam.
Many fruits like guava (#13 in this list), have unique tastes and need to be tried in certain dishes, and some like lychee (#5 in this list) you will be eating like candy. There is no need to be intimidated by these incredible fruits, all you need to know about them you will find in the article below.
This guide lists not only the top 15 most delicious fruits in Vietnam, but also how to eat them, where to find them, and how much they cost!
Mangosteen has a thick layer of purple outer skin (which makes for an amazing natural dye). Once broken into the fruit, you will find pale white segments like that of a citrus fruit, however, Mangosteen has a much softer flesh.
The mangosteen is juicy and sweet and has a unique flavor reminiscent of tangy pineapple and peach. It is also rich in vitamin C, B1, B2, B6, iron, and calcium. Mangosteen is rarely tasted by many in the world due to its limited growing location, making the prices for the fruit inflated when shipped to Western countries.
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How to Eat Mangosteen?
The easiest way to eat a mangosteen is by peeling the skin; sometimes a knife might be required because the rind can be quite thick. Once you have opened the fruit you can eat the flesh straight away, but watch out for the larger pods which may contain a seed!
You can make a wide range of delicious snacks and meals with this fruit due to its bold and delicious flavor. You can make mangosteen jam, ice cream, and pastries, and the fruit even makes for a refreshing addition to a summer salad.
Where to Find Mangosteen in Vietnam?
Mangosteen season is from May until August and you can find them easily all over Vietnam during this time. The supermarkets and local markets will have tons of this local favorite fruit around. It is important to remember that it is best to support the local markets, and they will usually give you a cheaper deal anyway!
The average price for 1 kilo of the mangosteen fruit is 60,000 VND, the equivalent of $2.50.
The rambutan fruit has a very distinctive appearance of bright-colored red and yellow skin with bright colored “hairs”. Beneath the skin lies a thick jelly-like, translucent flesh with a sweet and sour flavor. This taste is often compared to that of a grape. At the center of the fruit lies a pit, which is not edible.
Rambutan, like many other tropical fruits, offers many health benefits and large amounts of vitamins like Vitamin C. Though this fruit is originally from, and mainly grown in Southeast Asia, it is imported throughout the world. The fruit is now cultivated in foreign environments like Mexico and Hawaii.
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How to Eat a Rambutan?
It is a common misconception that the brighter the fruit and its hair is, the more ripe it will be. Actually, the ripest rambutans are the ones with orange skin and light-colored hair.
The unique flavor of rambutan makes it an ideal addition to many recipes, like salads, puddings, jam, and ice cream.
Where to Find Rambutan in Vietnam?
Rambutan is harvested twice a year, meaning you can find it in the summer and winter. This fruit is very popular in Vietnam, and since it is indigenous to the land you can find it almost everywhere. There will be rambutan in local markets, supermarkets, and even street vendors around the country, so you will easily be able to spot this eye-catching fruit. The best region to find rambutan, and other fruits is in the Mekong Delta due to its amazing weather, good soil, and agricultural landscape.
The average price of 1 kilo of rambutan fruit is around 20,000 VND to 30,000VND.
3. Custard Apple (Sweetsop)
The custard apple has many different names around the world, one of which is Sweetsop. Custard Apple is a heart-shaped stone fruit, that is unique to warm tropical areas. The skin of a ripe custard apple is green and textured with large bumps. The flesh is delicate and light, with a very sweet flavor. The inside of the fruit is littered with large black seeds that are easy to find and remove while eating.
You can find the ripest custard apples with expanded skins and a fragrant aroma even before opening the fruit. The custard apple originally comes from the Americas but is now grown in various tropical locations around the world including in Vietnam.
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How to Eat Custard Apple?
The best way to eat custard apple is raw as a healthy snack! You can easily peel off the layer of outer skin- or cut the fruit in half. Eat the white flesh either by hand or with a spoon, and be careful of the large black stones throughout the fruit.
The best way to consume the flesh of the custard apple in recipes is either as a fresh and sweet addition to a salad or by making the fruit into a delicious dessert. Custard apple makes for a delicious pastry filling and has amazing texture for ice cream and milkshakes. There are unlimited possibilities when cooking with custard apples.
Where to Find Custard Apple in Vietnam?
Custard apples are mainly grown in the southern areas of Vietnam, however, you can find them throughout the country easily. Lang Son province and the Mekong Delta is known to produce the highest quantities of custard apples, and also the ripest, and the sweetest.
There are shipments from these areas to multiple large markets and supermarkets around the country. There will be a supply of custard apples around the local markets year-round, however, the best time to look out for this unique fruit is during July.
The average price of 1 kilo of custard apple is 35,000 VND.
4. Dragon Fruit / Pitaya
The dragon fruit has another unique look, like many tropical fruits. The fruit is even named after its interesting look, for many believe the fruit resembles a dragon’s head. The outer skin is a thick pink rind with short green tentacles spreading slightly up and outward. Inside of the skin, the flesh comes in two colors of either white or pink, dotted with hundreds of small edible seeds.
This is not one of the most flavorful fruits Vietnam has to offer it tastes quite water-like. However, this fruit is a great palate cleanser and great for your health. It is said that the pitaya fruit comes with many different health benefits and many nutrients. The highest concentration of nutrients can be found in the pink flesh dragon fruits.
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How to Eat a Dragon Fruit?
The skin of the dragon fruit is easy to peel off and eat piece by piece. Or you can slice up the dragon fruit with a knife and remove the skin that way. My personal favorite way of consuming dragon fruit is either by a smoothie bowl or by cutting the raw fruit up and squeezing a lime over the top for the extra tang of flavor.
Dragon fruit is not used in many cooking recipes due to its bland flavor, but it is used in various salads, smoothies, and other healthy treats for a boost of fresh taste and nutrients.
Where to Find Dragon Fruit in Vietnam?
Dragon fruits are available throughout the country year-round! It is one of the few fruits that you can find everywhere all the time! Although, sometimes the price does vary during the slower times of the year.
Binh Thuan province is said to produce the best dragon fruits due to its superior climate, and are shipped around the country from here. There are also lots of local dragon fruit farms, however, most aren’t operated year-round. You can find dragon fruit at any local Vietnamese market, and at most large supermarkets.
The average price for 1 kilo of dragon fruit is from 25,000VND to 40,000 VND depending on what kind you get.
Lychee is a personal favorite fruit of mine, and are a must-try fresh snack when visiting Vietnam!
Lychee is originally grown in southern China and is a favorite fruit of many local people in southeast Asia. Once long ago, this fruit was reserved as a precious item only for the royal people. The Lychee fruits are easily recognizable with a hard red skin around the small fruit and are sometimes textured into dull spikes. Once you remove the skin you will find a translucent white and thick jelly-like flesh similar to rambutan. The taste is sweet and refreshing.
These fruits can be quite addicting and soon you’ll be eating them like candy. Lychee has many different health benefits and is even considered to be a natural pain relievers. Lychee is also great for your skin and hair due to its large amount of B vitamins.
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How to Eat a Lychee?
The best way to eat lychee is as a snack, simply peel off the skin and eat the skin around the seed. These fruits are an easy snack to take anywhere. Beyond their raw form, lychee is used in a lot of dishes like fresh salads, jams, pastries, cocktails, and even used in some meat dishes. The season for these dishes is very limited to the lychee season, so if you’re looking to try some of these out, May is the perfect time.
Where to Find Lychee in Vietnam?
The most delicious lychee is found in the Bac Giang and Hai Duong provinces (in Northern Vietnam) however you can find lychee in every part of Vietnam. There will often be street-side vendors with truck beds full of lychee, and local markets will have them whenever they are in season. However, you will rarely find lychee in the large commercialized supermarkets.
The average price for 1 kilo of lychee ranges from 25,000 VND to 70,000 VND depending on what region and what type of lychee is available.
The average price for 1 kilo of dragon fruit is from 25,000VND to 40,000 VND depending on what kind you get.
Jackfruit’s claim to fame is being the biggest fruit in the world. The rind is lumpy, green, and very dense, and the fruit can weigh up to 4kg. The flesh is bright yellow, and the segments are intertwined by threads of the fruit. Each segment contains one large seed. The texture of the flesh is very chewy but simultaneously crunchy and it tastes sweet like candy.
The fruit originates in Southeast Asia and is grown in a few other places due to the unique climate in the area. There are many different health benefits to this fruit that it can be considered a SuperFood! There is a massive amount of vitamin C, and large amounts of nutrients for cancer-fighting, bone building, and skin healing.
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How to Eat a Jackfruit?
The easiest way to eat jackfruit is by cutting the fruit in half if you bought the whole fruit. Once the fruit has been opened you can separate the sections by hand and remove the seeds, then continue to enjoy the flesh.
Jackfruit has an interesting meaty texture, and for that reason, it is used for a lot of meat substitutes. You can make many different dishes like BBQ jackfruit sandwiches, jackfruit curries, and many other dishes where meat can be substituted.
Where to Find Jackfruits in Vietnam?
Jackfruit is available all around Vietnam if you look hard enough you can find them growing all around the country, even in the big cities. The most popular area to find jackfruit in Dong Nai province due to its incredible climate. Dong Nai is the fruit’s hometown, where most of the produce originates. You can find jackfruit in local markets and even some supermarkets. Most of the time, the vendors will sell sections of the large fruit.
The average price for 1 kilo of jackfruit ranges from 30,000 to 35,000 VND.
This fruit is the most widely recognizable fruit around the world. It is definitely worth giving mangos a try when in Vietnam because the lush climate in the area guarantees for some of the most delicious. Mangos are popular everywhere and are the most well known and most popular tropical fruit.
If you aren’t familiar with mangos, they are characterized by a thin layer of yellow-orange skin and juicy flesh. There is a large seed in the middle with its fibers extending out into the flesh. The Vietnamese love to eat the green and unripe mangoes with chili salt, or in a famous shredded green mango salad.
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How to Eat Mangos?
When eating the mango raw, you can peel the skin and eat the fruit for immediate satisfaction but it’s very messy. The best way to eat the mango is to slice the flesh off the seed while keeping the skin on. Then, slice a crosshatch pattern into the fruit and push the skin upwards for easy access.
Mangos are very versatile fruits and work with a lot of cooking and are especially delicious in desserts such as ice cream or pastry. There is a famous dish in Southeast Asia consisting of sticky rice, coconut milk, and mango slices.
Where to Find Mangos in Vietnam?
There will be large sections of supermarkets full of different mangoes of varying sizes and ripeness. The local market stalls will also provide you with lots of different mangoes to choose from.
The average price for 1 kilo of mangos ranges from 10,000 VND to 35,000 VND depending on location and time of year.
Longan is another very popular fruit for the local Vietnamese people. It is a small round fruit with a tough brown skin that is quite difficult to peel. Inside the fruit you’ll find a translucent white flesh with a dark black seed in the center.
Because of its appearance, Longan when translated is named dragon eye.
The flesh resembles a similar texture to lychee but with a much sweeter taste and more flesh to eat. This Vietnamese fruit is very easy to spot in the market because they are displayed in large bushels similar to grapes.
The longan fruit has lots of health benefits such as strengthening the immune system and building strong bones. It also contains lots of minerals such as vitamin C, Cu, Fe, and Riboflavin.
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How to Eat Longan?
To eat longan like the Vietnamese, it is best as a midday snack! The local vendors eat these fruits like candy. Simply peel the skin off the fruit, and eat the white flesh around the seed.
Longan is a very versatile fruit, and due to its wide popularity in Vietnam, it has a large number of dishes it is compatible with. Some unique dishes to try with longan include longan sweet soup with lotus seed, longan ice cream, and herbal tea with longan. There are many ways to experiment with this fruit in dishes as well!
Where to Find Longan in Vietnam?
Longan is usually harvested between July and August, but you can sometimes find it earlier in the north.
You can find these in almost every single market across all of Vietnam – they are really that popular! The provinces that provide the best longan are Hung Yen, Vinh Long, and Can Tho. If you are in the area, make sure to either pick up a bushel or try a signature longan dish!
The average price for 1 kilo of Longan is 30,000 VND to 70,000 VND.
Durian is a very well known fruit in southeast Asia many people come here just to have the experience of trying the unique fruit. The fruit looks quite tough with its sharp thorned outer skin and has a very distinguishable smell. In fact, the smell is so strong that some countries have banned taking them on public transportation.
Due to the thick and spiky outside, you need to use a large knife to open the fruit. Once open, the durian resembles a jackfruit with its separated segments of meat formed around seeds. The durian is smaller than the jackfruit, however, and can weigh up to 2kg. The meat is described to be sweet and creamy. If you can get past the smell, you will certainly like the fruit.
Durian is known for having intense health-boosting attributes like lowering blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health. The fruit is also known for having anti-aging components and revitalizing skin. Durian is similar to the avocado regarding its fat content, even though it is healthy fat it is important to keep this in mind.
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How to Eat Durian?
The best way to eat durian is by purchasing pre-cut pieces of the fruit from a market. This will save you the hassle of trying to cut the dangerous fruit. All you need to do is try the fruit and be mindful of the seeds.
Durian can be used in a variety of dishes but it is most popular in desserts and sweet treats. This is the best way to ease yourself into the intense flavor of durian while remaining comfortable. You can find several options of snacks using durian in many Vietnamese shops including durian ice cream, durian chips, and even dried durian.
Where to Find Durian in Vietnam?
You can find durian in every city in Vietnam, but it sometimes takes a bit of a hunt to find. The most popular location for this fruit is Ban Tre province and the Mekong Delta.
The more touristic areas will have the easiest access to durian due to the large portion of westerners curious to try it.
When checking the local markets, make sure to ask if you can get it cut up!
The average price per 1 kilo of durian costs between 40,000 to 100,000 VND.
The pomelo is a very large citrus fruit that is close in relation to a grapefruit. It is the largest fruit in the citrus family weighing up to 2kg. The fruit is native to southeast Asia and isn’t often imported to other countries. The pomelo is covered in a thick green, or sometimes yellow, rind that can be difficult to peel through with your hands. Below the outer skin lies the mildly sweet and sometimes bitter fruit. The insides are light pink and yellow and are divided like that of an orange or grapefruit.
The pomelo is highly nutritious with multiple vitamins essential to daily health. The pomelo contains lots of minerals and vitamins like vitamin C. Pomelos are full of fiber and are rich with antioxidants. It is also said that pomelo can aid with weight loss, cardiovascular health, and even has anti-aging properties.
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How to Eat Pomelo?
You can eat a pomelo similar to how you would eat a grapefruit. You can either peel the rind off or cut the large fruit in half. It is important to peel the pith out, otherwise, the fruit can taste quite bitter. Once you have access to the pale pink and yellow flesh you can proceed to eat as normal.
The pomelo is used in a lot of Vietnamese salads as a satisfying citrus twist. It can also be used to make jams or juice.
Where to Find Pomelos in Vietnam?
You can find pomelo in Vietnam from August to December. It is mostly grown in the south but because the pomelos are shipped around the country, you will have no problem finding the fruit everywhere in the country. There will be pomelos in the local markets definitely, but not so often in the big supermarkets. They are sometimes on display in the markets for special occasions.
The average price for 1 kilo of pomelo costs 40,000-60,000 VND.
11. Passion Fruit
Passion fruit is the perfect mix of sour and sweet. It is a small purple fruit, normally the size of a fist. The purple rind is thick and difficult to open sometimes. Beyond the outer skin, lies a white inside with hundreds of bright yellow juice-filled pods with black seeds. The seeds are edible so you can simply scoop the insides out and devour them.
Some people believe that the wrinkled skins on a passion fruit means they have gone off, however, they are the more ripe option than the smooth-skinned fruit. Passion fruit, like many of the previously listed, is rich with health benefits and nutrients. The fruit is wealthy in vitamins like Vitamin A, C, B3, B6, and iron. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory products and antioxidants.
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How to Eat a Passion Fruit?
The easiest way to eat passion fruit raw is by peeling apart the thick rind with your hands and eating it from the skin. However, if you prefer a neater way to consume this fruit, try cutting the top of the rind off and squeezing the fruit into your mouth.
Passion fruit has a delightfully sweet and sour taste that pairs well with other fruit. Some amazing dishes to try with passion fruit include passion fruit ice cream, fruit jam with passion fruit, and cocktails with passion fruit. Of course, there are many other ways to experiment with this unique addition to other dishes.
Where to Find Passion Fruits in Vietnam?
It is easy to find passion fruit everywhere and all-year-round in Vietnam. It is one of the vines that is continuously producing fruit. You can find unique drinks and dishes featuring this fruit in almost every street-side cafe.
The average price for 1 kilo of passion fruit is 35,000-40,000 VND.
12. Starfruit / Carambola
Starfruit is just as magical as it sounds. The starfruit trees bloom twice a year, however at very unpredictable times so there is no set season for them. When ripe, the starfruit turns a golden color. The outer skin is quite thin and waxy but is edible. When cut horizontally you will receive perfect star-shaped slices, hence the name starfruit. The inside flesh is golden yellow and very juicy but its taste is unmatched. Some say that it is a mix of citrus fruit, grapes, and the texture of an apple, but you will have to try it yourself to truly know!
The starfruit is known to have strong anti-inflammatory products. It also has properties to promote weight loss, improve digestion, monitor blood pressure, and possibly even reduce cholesterol levels. It is rich in Vitamin A, B, and C along with minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
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How to Eat a Starfruit?
Starfruit is very easy to eat, all it requires is a quick rinse of the waxy skin before consumption then you can dig in. If you want some added magic, slice the fruit into its unique starry shape.
This is a very popular aspect of Vietnamese cooking. It is often used for a sweet addition to a summer salad or to a curry. You can also make various desserts like cakes, ice cream, and chips. You can often find starfruit as an interesting addition to cocktails or drinks.
Where to Find Starfruits in Vietnam?
Starfruit is one of the more difficult fruits to find in Vietnam due to its limited and very unpredictable season. It is available year-round in the Mekong Delta due to its perfect growing climate. You can also count on finding it in many local markets or even littered onto the streets in central Vietnam from the fruit trees littered around the cities.
The average price for 1 kilo of starfruit is 20,000-30,000 VND.
Guavas are not native to Asia but they originate from Central America’s very similar climate, meaning that the fruit can thrive here.
Guavas are pear-shaped and about the size of a baseball with a green skin that is occasionally quite bumpy. On the inside, the guava will have either white or pink flesh.
The taste of this fruit is quite mild as if you were tasting something light, flowery, and herbal. The Vietnamese people love guava and will eat it both ripe, and unripe (as they do with many fruits).
Guava is considered a superfruit due to its many nutritional benefits. It is rich in the vitamin B group and vitamin C, A, and E. It also is rich with minerals like zinc, magnesium, and iron. Guavas are rich in health properties for increasing heart health, minimizing stress, improving eyesight, and much more.
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How to Eat a Guava?
When eating guava raw, the best option is by cutting the fruit into sections. The rind is edible, however, it gives a slightly bitter taste so removing it is up to you. You can eat the pieces plain, or you can add some chili salt like many of the local Vietnamese.
Classically you can find guava in sweet dishes like juice, ice creams, or jam. There are plenty of delicious recipes to try out with this unique fruit. It makes a very interesting sweet addition to what typically is savory.
Where to Find Guava in Vietnam?
You can find guavas year-round in Vietnam. Guavas are such a popular healthy snack that they will always be around. At most local markets there is guaranteed to have at least one market stall with guavas around. They are normally grown in the south but are shipped throughout the country. If you are looking for the most delicious guavas in the country, check out the Mekong Delta.
The average price for 1 kilo of guava is 10,000- 20,000VND.
14. Rose Apple
The rose apple is another unique fruit to Southeast Asia. Very few people have heard of this fruit, let alone tried it. The rose apple is shaped like a bell and has a bright red outer skin. The inside of the fruit resembles an apple with its texture. The flesh is crispy and juicy and the flavor is described as being very mild, like an unripe guava. It is sometimes thought to taste like rosewater, which might be how the unique fruit got its name.
To accompany the interesting taste, the rose apple is packed full of important nutrients. It has high contents of fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. The fruit also has an interestingly high amount of protein. It is said that this fruit can not only help with digestion but also help manage diabetes. Rose apples can even boost the immune system due to the high amounts of antioxidants.
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How to Eat a Rose Apple?
You can eat the rose apple straight away, but I prefer to refrigerate them. When you consume cold rose apples they have an even more refreshing and somehow sweeter taste. To prepare the fruit, all you need to do is slice the fruit and refrain from eating the center or the base.
If you prefer to not eat the fruit raw, it can be used to create a number of delicious dishes like jams, exotic desserts, and even be added onto salads.
Where to Find Rose Apples in Vietnam?
The rose apple season is year-round in Vietnam but reaches its peak during the summer months. You can find these interesting fruits in any market, from local to the supermarket. The best region to find these fruits will still be the Mekong Delta, which could be known as a paradise for fruit lovers.
The average price of 1 kilo of rose apple 20,000-30,000 VND.
You might be wondering why avocado made it to this list, and are avocado fruits or veggies?
Avocado are fruits. Indeed it’s a misconception that avocado are veggies. An avocado is a fruit, botanically the avocado fruit is a large berry with a single seed (source: University of California).
A delicious berry!
Vietnam offers some of the largest and richest avocados to be seen.
The usual season of avocado in Vietnam is from February to August, with the largest harvests between May and July.
The avocados in Vietnam vary in type from long and thin avocados with thin seeds to short and fat ones with purple skin (a similar type to Hass avocados). The insides of the avocado have a very creamy texture and are light green to darker green closer to the skin, with a large seed in the center.
Thanks to this creamy texture, avocado’s taste rich and buttery.
Avocados are an amazing form of healthy fat consumption. The fruit is rich in vitamins C, E, K, and B6. They also have high levels of riboflavin, folate, magnesium, and even more potassium than bananas.
The avocado is excellent for lowering cholesterol and monitoring blood pressure. It is even good for repairing and strengthening eyesight.
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How to Eat Avocados?
The best way to eat an avocado raw is by cutting the fruit in half and removing the pit. You can then use a spoon to scoop out the insides. It is recommended to add some salt, pepper, and even a bit of citrus on the top to bolden the flavor.
Avocados are used in a variety of recipes for a buttery texture or light taste. You can try the avocados on toast, in a smoothie, or a salad. There are unlimited possibilities for delicious and nutritious treats with avocado. The most popular Vietnamese dish including avocado is summer rolls!
Where to Find Avocados in Vietnam?
You can find avocados in every single market during the season. During the peak harvest months of May- July, you will often find street vendors along large busy roads with the back of their trucks full and a small side out front. These vendors will provide the best prices due to the large amount of overstock they have. You can find avocados grown in every region of Vietnam, but most greatly in the central region.
The average price for 1 kilo of avocados is between 10,000 VND- 40,000VND depending on the season.
Vietnamese Fruits: Wrapping Up
There are so many delicious fruits in Vietnam to try, and they are all so unique and beautiful. You may not have recognized some fruits on this list, but don’t be nervous. If you don’t happen to like the native and special tropical fruits, there are other recognizable fruits like bananas, watermelons, and coconuts available year-round.
The diversity of tropical fruits is unique to this area of the world. Visiting the colorful markets and trying something new should be on every traveler’s to-do list. If you feel daring enough, try some of the unique fruits like lychee or mangosteen and you will surely find something you like.
You can also find a lot more items to bring back home. Check out this list of the best things to buy from Vietnam to find out more