Indochina Dragon Plums from Hanoi streets

The Indochina Dragon Plum (Dracontomelon duperreanum) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae. In Vietnamese it is called: chi sấu). Dragon Plums are one of the most popular kinds of trees on the side of Hanoi streets. The fruits of the trees are also famous for being used by Hanoi gourmets. However, the fruits are usually harvested and used when they are still green. Let’s see how the ripe dragon plums could also become one of the most unforgettable flavors of Hanoi.

Harvest the ripe dragon plum

The best time to get the ripe dragon plums is early autumn, in August or September. What we need to prepare are a ladder and a tree pruner. An old Indochina dragon plum tree may reach 10 to 18 ft. high. Climbing the tree to pick up the fruits is a bit thrilling, so make sure that you are in a firm and secure position before using the pruner or spreading your hands to the attractive branches of hanging ripe dragon plums.

Enjoy your hard-working achievements

The best Indochina dragon plums are of yellow or brown-yellow appearance. You should rinse and clean them to remove dust and particles and let them dry before processing. Most Hanoians consider a traditional lunch containing a bowl of boiled spinach with pickled ripe dragon plums and one savory dish the most sought-after lunch in summer and autumn days.

Final part: prepare for one of the most mouthwatering snacks ever from ripe dragon plums

What you need:

  • 300 ml warm water
  • 30 – 40 grams of sugar (depending on your set demand)
  • ~15ml fish sauce
  • A small piece of ginger (flattened and chopped)
  • A few slices of chilly

Mix all of those ingredients and put some dried dragon plums that have been notched into the mixture. Enjoy either immediately or later.

Lessons learned about Indochina dragon plums

  • The natural occurrence of Dracontomelon duperreanum trees is restricted to Southern China and Vietnam
  • It is a popular roadside tree in Hanoi
  • Often, green fruits are harvested for their sour properties
  • Ripe fruits are prepared for traditional summer dishes and will be pickled

All photos in this article © Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Hai

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