I went to a local market and bought 8 of the top exotic tropical fruits that can be found here in Vietnam. Then I brought them home for Tim and I to taste test.
In this video we are sampling 8 of the top exotic fruits in Vietnam. They are: Thai Guava, Mango, Mangosteen, Rambutan, Dragon Fruit, Rose Apple, Lychee and Mango Apple. Tim and I have very different opinions of what’s good and what’s not.
This is one heck of a tropical fruit taste test, and we’re doing it right here in Da Nang, Vietnam. It’s originally from a LIVE broadcast, no set-ups here. Though this version is edited for better pacing.
If you’ve ever seen these strange-looking exotic fruits and wondered what they taste like, this is the video for you. We break it all down, and have fun doing it. These are the strange tropical fruits you must try in Vietnam, or from your local grocer, if you have that opportunity.
Da Nang was on mid-level Covid lockdown, no taxis or food delivery, so I walked down to a local market and bought the most interesting fruit I could find. Fortunately, one of the stalls that was open had everything I needed.
Sure, there could be an even bigger list of Vietnamese/Southeast Asian tropical fruits, but this is a good selection. These are definitely some of the top exotic fruits in Vietnam. Depending on circumstances, we may do a Part 2 of this exotic fruit taste test.
On some of the links provided we might make a commission if you purchase something by clicking through our link. This creates no additional cost for you.
Next time you see these fruits in your local grocery store, give them a try. Better yet, plan a trip to Vietnam and get them super ripe and fresh. The ad below takes you straight to a page of Vietnam tours for every taste and budget.
If you’re coming to Vietnam, you’re going to want to include Da Nang, it’s a great travel stop with plenty to do. Also, Vietnam is handling Covid wonderfully, so it will be a great post-pandemic travel destination.
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Today I’m in Da Nang, Vietnam at a local market and I’m gonna buy some tropical exotic fruit and we are gonna cut it all open and taste test it for you. Let’s go buy some fruit.[music: yummy]
TIM: Howdy folks, welcome back. We’re here to show you how to cut some fruit, which is way better than cutting cheese. [rimshot]
TRINA: We’re not going to just show them how to cut fruit, we’re showing them all these exotic fruits. And I say exotic, but exotic really just means unfamiliar. Right?
TIM: It either means that, or it’s naked.
TRINA: PG, PG man.
TRINA: So I’ve brought them back for a taste test, washed them all and we’re going to cut them open and see who likes what. He doesn’t like anything hardly.
TIM: Nonsense. I like everything.
TRINA: So that he sticks around I’m going to save this baby, the dragon fruit, which we are 95% certain he’s going to like, I’m going to save this one till the end.
TIM: Wow, that’s scary.
TRINA: It is scary looking, isn’t it?
TRINA: Yeah, so that’s the dragon fruit, but that one’s at the end in case he doesn’t like. So we are ready, right?
TIM: Of course.
TRINA: Fruit Ninja time.
TIM: You’re right. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah I remember that game.
TRINA: Let’s take this one.
TIM: Okay, what is that?
TRINA: This might be a chayote, I’m not sure. I couldn’t, I looked it up on a thing and I didn’t figure it out. So we’re going to just cut it in half. Very apple-like, whatever it is. Give that a try.
TIM: Ladies and gentlemen, first try of the…apple?
TRINA: No, I think it’s called a chayote, but I’m not sure. I’m not sure what this one is, but it was like a rough bumpy green thing.
TRINA: Very apple looking and it’s kind of apply inside.
TIM: Don’t say bumpy green thing to blind guys.
TRINA: And then expect you to eat it?
TRINA: Yeah, for the those in the crowd who don’t know, Tim is mostly blind. So if he seems slow at finding things, or anything like that, that’s because he can’t see very well, and he’s not having a particularly good vision day. How is it?
TIM: Tasting the flavor, and the bouquet. Tastes kind of, kind of salty.
TRINA: Yeah. Although it’s funny you mentioned bouquet, because it is a little perfumey for an apple.
TRINA: There’s like an apple with some perfume.
TIM: It’s like a…
TRINA: But not a heavy perfume.
TIM: …a fancy apple.
TRINA: Did you get any skin with it? You’re just eating the front. I’ll grab some of the skin on there. Skin is fine, kind of like it is on an apple, not really noticeable. So that was very apple-like.
TRINA: Not huge surprises there, but yeah very apple-like. Okay, red, green brown, bumpy or furry?
TIM: [mischievous laugh] Let’s go brown.
TRINA: Brown. Okay, so brown. These, we technically know what these are. These aren’t a big surprise, but a lot of times they come in a huge bunch. These are, he said lycee. I would have called it lychee because it’s spelled that way. Spelled that way best possible. So Tim, here I’m going to give you this while I go grab a prop that I forgot to pull out.
TRINA: Here, try peeling that. They’re rough. They’re kind of brownish and they’re very rough and a little prickly, not enough to hurt you, but they’re definitely prickly. Like imagine, it’s like a warrior strawberry.
TIM: Warrior strawberry?
TRINA: Well, it’s got this spiked armor on it.
TIM: Oh, okay.
TRINA: Instead of little spikes being all tucked in and smooth they’re like spun out and a little spiky. So you open that really quick.
TIM: Oh, yeah.
TRINA: Lychee a special prop with it. Lychee, lycee, I think, and that’s, I’m not advertising the brand of tea, although Tim likes it, and it’s actually pretty good. But you’ll often see this in tea products and other products for flavor. So..
TIM: Yeah, yum.
TRINA: You might have seen these around and these are tasty. And that’s the Vietnamese side. So, any luck peeling that?
TIM: I just made some progress.
TRINA: Okay, be aggressive about that. Dive into it.
TIM: I’m not good at diving, seeing that I can’t see what I’m doing.
TRINA: I know.
TIM: I might peel away the whole thing.
TRINA: Yours is a little better fruit. Can I show yours off?
TRINA: Okay. Actually, yeah, perfect with it. See, he’s peeled the skin back. The skin is stiff so it’s actually easy to sort of dig in and pull back, right?
TIM: Yeah, once it gets, once it gets a crack in it you can just [hand motion with sound effect – bloop].
TIM: So that part still wants to hang on to it.
TRINA: Easier than an orange.
TRINA: Yeah, and then, so and then you’ve got this fruit and I’ll tell you there is a pit in the center, so don’t eat the pit. But here, you sample that one. I’ll sample mine. I sort of got rough with mine and it came out kind of messy.
TIM: Ah, okay. Okay, I dub thee, Brad.
TRINA: Brad? Oh, Brad Pitt. [laughing] Silly, silly. So what do you think?
TIM: This one’s sweeter than the other one, than the apple one.
TIM: It’s sweet, not too sweet, though.
TRINA: But not as sweet as the products it comes in.
TIM: Yeah, that’s true.
TRINA: When they put this in a tea, or other products, it tends to be one of the sweeter smoother flavors. But in reality…
TIM: Oh, yeah, this is lychee.
TRINA: Yeah, this is lychee.
TIM: I like it. It’s, I don’t know, it’s pleasant.
TRINA: Pleasant, okay. You get a pleasant. I’m gonna just…
TIM: Very pleasant.
TRINA: …try another bite. Yeah, it’s very smooth, on the mild side. Yeah, definitely mild, nothing too strange here. As I say you just got a big old pit in the center, That’s a, that’s a nice one.
TIM: Oh man, that’s the pits.
TRINA: You want to try the rose apple?
TIM: Yeah, that sounds a little too much like road apple.
TRINA: This is a rose apple. I had to look that one up after the fact. They say you can eat it just like a regular apple despite the way it looks, so we’re gonna find out. We’re still gonna cut into it. We’re not just gonna bite into it.
Nothing strange here on the cutting yet. No giant unexpected things. Oh it does, look. It looks just like an apple inside. I think this is the one they said don’t eat, make sure not to eat the seeds. Those seeds aren’t good for you. So that way, to that way, that’s kind of a neat effect. [weeooh sound effects added by Trina]
TIM: I can’t see what you’re doing, but I can see what you’re doing.
TRINA: He knows me too well. I’m just gonna bite into that one. Oh, my.
TIM: This does look like an apple.
TRINA: Yeah. I want to see your opinion first. I’m not going to say a thing.
TIM: We’re supposed to eat the outside, right?
TIM: It’s kind of bland.
TRINA: I expected this to taste better, I really did.
TIM: I did. It doesn’t taste like anything, anything.
TRINA: It’s got barely any flavor.
TRINA: Maybe we got a bad one, but it’s got barely any flavor. It’s a good crunch. I mean it’s not like, it’s a light crunch, it’s not a heavy crunch.
TIM: A horse might like it.
TRINA: But it’s got almost no flavor. It looks better than it tastes.
TRINA: This one I’ve heard of, but I have no idea what’s gonna happen when we cut into it. It’s a mangosteen.
TRINA: So this is the mangosteen
TRINA: Yes, mangosteen. Have you guys had any of these? By the way, if you’ve had these before and you want to weigh in and let us know what’s right or wrong, definitely leave a comment because I’d love to know if you’ve had any of these, and if… Oh wow, that’s hard.
TIM: We’d like to get your opinion.
TRINA: Okay, wow!
TIM: You’re supposed to give it one swift knife stroke.
TRINA: So this is the inside. You can see why I was having such trouble getting through. That skin is a good quarter inch thick. You know it’s quite a thick skin and it’s a firm skin, firmer definitely than say an orange, or something like that.
TIM: So don’t worry about saying bad things about it, it can take it.
TRINA: It’s got a thick skin. Yeah, okay, so let’s dig this out.
TIM: [gravelly voice] We’ll teach you, come out of there.
TRINA: Okay that came out nicely. Here. There’s a pit in there somewhere so…
TIM: Yeah, it’s right at the middle of it.
So it pops out really easy, it doesn’t stick to this outer flesh really really much. I say that as I’m mutilating it. I should probably have a spoon, but I ended up using the spoon for the mic.
TIM: Oh gosh.
TRINA: What’s wrong?
TIM: It starts it’s kind of, kind of nice and then it goes bitter. Serious bitter.
TRINA: Hmm. I’m not getting the bitter.
TIM: Yeah, well you like bitter.
TRINA: Actually, it’s got a sweet sour kind of thing going on.
TIM: Okay, I got sweet and bitter.
TRINA: Oh. Maybe you caught a little more pit, or something. Sometimes the stuff right around the pit is a little hmm. Oh, I could eat that.
TIM: Oh, of course you can.
TRINA: As I say, it’s kind of sweet and sour. If you don’t like sour at all you might not like it. He’s sensitive to bitter, I’m not tasting it. But I drink coffee, he doesn’t. That might have something to do with it.
TIM: Because it got the sweet part at the beginning and then it went ewww.
TRINA: Then the other one’s mine.
TIM: Yeah, it’s all yours.
TRINA: I get the other one.
TIM: Yeah, you can have them all. Take it. take it.
TRINA: Okay, we got a few more here. Okay, shall we do the rambutan?
TIM: Oh yeah, rambutan! [Tim makes rumba music]
Oh, am I supposed to…eewww. Feels like a giant bug, like a giant fly.
TRINA: Well don’t say that, that’s gonna make no one want to get it.
TIM: Yeah, you think I want it? I’ve gotta hold it.
TRINA: Much like the the lychee, or the lycee, the rambutan is on a branch like this, at least when when we got them here. They might not be back in the market. So you pull one off. The little spiky things are not sharp, despite his reaction.
TIM: Well I didn’t say they were sharp.
TRINA: I know, but your reaction sound seemed like…
TIM: It felt like a dead fly.
TRINA: Oh gosh, I wouldn’t say that.
TIM: Oh, I’m sorry. Forget I said that.
TRINA: Okay, little tough to get into. So I started it where the little stem point was, and then I started pulling but I started not getting through this first, this other membrane. There’s this the membrane that holds all the little furry stuff. You’ve got to break through that too and you get to something else and the flesh is very much like the lychee. You take that one and you can start tasting that one while I’m opening this one.
TIM: Yeah, thanks.
TRINA: Another thing you could cut into it easily enough too. But yeah, if you start at the stem point and then you just give it a good yank, and then it’s firm but not too hard to get through.
TIM: First taste is is sweet.
TIM: Uh-huh and
TRINA: Oh yeah, oh that’s nice and sweet. I like that better than the lychee.
TIM: Oh yeah.
TRINA: Not the other one, not better than the mangosteen. I like that better than the lychee though.
TIM: Yeah it’s sweeter. It has a…
TRINA: Stronger flavor.
TIM: Stronger sweetness to it.
TRINA: Oh yeah, definitely have to add these to the repertoire. Getting all fancy with my words here.
TRINA: Again a pit in the center, no surprise. This is really good. Rambutan definite thumbs up.
TIM: She uses big words to describe her things.
TRINA: Yeah that’s the writer in me. Let me clear the cutting board a little bit.
TIM: I keep mine at [grunts]
TRINA: Okay, we’ve got two more before the dragon fruit.
TRINA: This is, we’ve got a mango and we’ve got a mango apple.
TIM: Oh, I thought we tried the mango apple.
TRINA: No, we tried the, we tried the rose apple.
TIM: Oh, the rose apple.
TRINA: This is the mango apple.
TIM: Oh, that’s a big apple.
TRINA: Yeah, and this is the mango, but let’s try the mango apple.
TIM: Yeah, sure okay.
TRINA: As I say, no specialty in cutting. I’m just cutting into things. Yeah, I’m hoping I don’t pull a Penn and Teller.
TIM: Pull a Penn and Teller?
TRINA: Yeah, like slicing off my thumb.
TIM: Oh, don’t do that.
TRINA: Okay, we’re just gonna do that. Yeah, there doesn’t seem to be a giant pit in it, but I did hit a point where it didn’t want to cut through. So, it’s more mango-like than apple. Here, this looks like the riper part. I’m not sure that this couldn’t be a little riper, so if we come up with it not being too sweet it might be that. We’ll see.
TRINA: Okay this is closer to like green mango. If you’ve ever had green mango, it’s really firm and definitely a little sour, a little sour, a little bitter. A lot of times it gets mixed into recipes and it works better. Yeah, this one’s fairly sour. It might need some ripening, yeah but it leans towards sour.
TIM: It needs something.
TRINA: Yeah. You can definitely tell the mango. It is like a mango with an apple texture. I will say that.
TIM: Yeah, I guess so, but I’ve never had an apple that tough.
TRINA: Yeah, no it’s not exactly but I think it’s a little under-ripe.
TIM: But what you do is you use this if you want to get a kiss from somebody, and they take a bite and they go [puckers up].
TRINA: We’re going on to a mango.
TRINA: And these I kind of know how to cut, but I always mess them up anyways. But there is a big old pit in these. See, this is how the layperson does these things. This is not the, oh hey this is the fine way that you cut this open and let us show you how to do it perfectly, so it’s like picture perfect even if you know that they probably edited the thing 10 times. Oh man, I almost pulled a Penn and Teller.
TIM: Oh. Hey, be careful.
TRINA: Yeah, just that’s fine. I should have brought band-aids. Okay…
TIM: Did you bring napkins?
TRINA: Yeah, I’ve got napkins.
TIM: Oh, okay.
TRINA: Okay, there you go. So, mango.
This is a tart mango. I mean I love mango, but this particular, at least this particular fruit, if not this particular variety, is definitely tart.
Mister Sourpuss over here.
TIM: Yeah, this one’s got got no sweet.
TRINA: No, it’s got some sweet. Yeah, again I’m going to call that sweet and sour. It’s not as sour as the mangosteen, not by a long shot.
TIM: But it is sour.
TRINA: But tart.
TIM: No, don’t listen to her. She has mixed up her reference words and she says tart…
TRINA: But I’m the word master, I know what I’m saying. It’s tart, not sour.
TRINA: Unless you’re a sour sissy like he is.
TIM: I’m a sour.
TIM: I’m a sour monster.
TRINA: You’re just, you’re just sour.
TIM: Yeah, that’s right. Now we’ve got the dragon fruit.
I told this story while I was shopping yesterday, but I’m going to tell you again in case you didn’t catch that live. I’m gonna tell you while I cut so that you’re not sitting around waiting for both. We were in Indonesia. These fruits are generally available throughout Southeast Asia. We were in Indonesia and we were taking a houseboat tour to go see orangutans and they, oh man they fed us good. They fed us really well on that boat.
TIM: Oh yeah.
TRINA: The houseboat tour, whatever it costs. Oh, this is just like the ones there, too. I’m gonna be thrilled to show this off. We had had some of this with lunch and sometimes you’ll see dragon fruit and the flesh will be white and just the outer rim will be pink. Much like this one, the ones they gave us were entirely this hot flaming pink color. Oh, it kind of matches my shirt.
This is my new shirt by the way. I said I was gonna get one made here in Vietnam, so of my fancy shirts, this is my new shirt. I think this dragon fruit matches it perfectly.
But I had just eaten one of these and we were walking to go to the rehab center for the orangutans, and it’s through the woods and all that. And they had an elevated wooden walkway and there’s water underneath. And I kind of had a taste in my mouth, not from the food or anything, but I just, I needed to spit. So I thought, no big deal I’ll spit in the water. And I spit and this flaming pink spit came out looking completely unnatural and landed in the middle of the the greenish-brown water down below.
TIM: Yes, dear, you had the, you had the forethought to use the most beautiful spit that you could find.
TRINA: Yes, it was the most beautiful spit ever, seriously. Oh, look at this, look at this. Tim, you’ve never had it this, except for the then but, and see look that’s super ripe because it’s just coming right off. Oh, look at that. Now that was like a fancy way to cut things. And get that last end piece there without cutting myself. Okay.
TIM: You know, when you talk about things just coming right off you’ve got to use a British accent. Come on now.
TRINA: So there’s there’s a piece of dragon fruit.
TIM: Piece of dragon fruit which comes straight off the bone. It’s so delicious so it would be difficult to say anything worse about it, but let’s taste it. Come on, let’s go.
TRINA: So it’s fall off the skin tender. How does that sound?
TIM: Ah, that’s good.
TRINA: Fall off the skin tender.
TIM: Yeah, but you’ve got, you’ve got such a flat accent.
TRINA: [in a horrible accent] Fall off the skin tender.
TIM: Never mind.
TRINA: You don’t know what you asked for there.
TIM: I know what I asked for.
TRINA: You just didn’t get it.
TRINA: So, dragon fruit is actually fairly mild in its flavor. It’s very tasty but very mild.
TRINA: It’s got about a million little seeds in it. You do eat these seeds because there’s no way around them. Don’t even try to get around them.
TIM: If you couldn’t I would have just swallowed all of my seeds and keeled over.
TRINA: As I say, sometimes you’ll see it with a white flesh with just a pink rind. I don’t know if those are different varieties or if it’s how ripe it is. I mean, but it’s completely edible and tasty when it’s got the white flesh too, so don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
TIM: So what color is that?
TRINA: This is flaming fuchsia pink.
TRINA: I mean this is like pinker than my shirt. It is fuchsia through and through. It’s the thing that’s responsible for the hot pink spit that’s in that river that’s probably still floating around with the orangutans.
TIM: Probably. But I’m sure there was a monster that swam up and ate it.
TRINA: Okay, so that is all of our fruit. Those are all the samples we got.
TRINA: And we’re not going to have a long drawn out sign off here.
TRINA: We’re going to say we hope you enjoyed, thank you for joining us.
TRINA: We hope you enjoyed this exotic tropical fruit tour.
TRINA: And we’ll see you next time.
TIM: Exactly. Pip pip, cheerio.