'Breast milk' fruit from Tiền Giang known far and wide

January 03, 2023 - 08:30
Star apple fruit is also known as breast milk fruits (vú sữa means 'milk from the breast' in Vietnamese).


Hoàng Lan

Have you ever tried a Lò Rèn Vĩnh Kim star apple from Tiền Giang Province? It is so  fragrant, and tasty that it was recognised in the top 11 best specialties of Việt Nam by the Asia of Book of Records last August.

An Australian foreign friend (who does not want to be named) said he had enjoyed the fruit last year when on a working trip in the province.

“Before I went, several of my Vietnamese friends advised me that it should be an unforgettable trip for me if I spend time visiting Vĩnh Kim Village in Châu Thành District to enjoy Tiền Giang’s specialty fruit.

Star apple-laden trees in Tiền Giang's Vĩnh Kim Village. Photo trangtraiviet.danviet.vn

“It is great for its cool, sweet, and aromatic fragrant as if I was drinking a cup of special fresh milk. I feel quite healthy after enjoying it,” the Australian man said.

Star apple is also known as 'breast milk' fruit (vú sữa means breast milk in Vietnamese).

A local resident, Đinh Văn Thành, 80, related a story that one day in the early 20th century, Hồ Văn Lễ, a blacksmith, was presented by his relative, a basket filled with fruits as big as a small ball, light green with mellowly tasty.

At that time, Lễ didn’t know what the fruit was. He cut it across into two, seeing a small cloudy white water running out from the fruit. It was so tasty and sweet that he kept its seeds to grow in his garden. Luckily the tree grew and developed very well and gave fruit several years later.

Star apple is rich in vitamins and minerals that are very good for health. Photo mia.vn

The fruit was strange but tasty, so Lễ’s neighbours asked him to give them seeds to grow. Since then, the trees have been planted widely in Vĩnh Kim Village. Locals called it "Lò Rèn" (Smithy) 'breast milk' fruit to commemorate the blacksmith.

The fruit has become 'Queen' together with Ngũ Hiệp durian. These fruits bring big economic value for Tiền Giang farmers, Thành said.

He said to enjoy the fruit traditionally, it must be squeezed slightly to be softer, but to invite guests, you should cut it across into two and use a spoon to scoop out the pulp.

Star apples ready for sale. Photo mia.vn

Thành said his grandchildren are interested in making star apple juice, which is added with cacao or fresh milk.

The fruit season runs from September to April, and most ripe between November to December every year, said Thành, adding that during peak season, many visitors and travellers far and wide arrive at the village to enjoy ripe and mellow star apples dangling themselves from tree branches.

Pharmacist Lê Thanh Thủy from Hà Nội said star apple from Vĩnh Kim has a higher weight and fewer seeds. It still contains vitamins and minerals that are very good for health. Those doing heavy work should eat one or two fruits to restore their health. 

Many people are interested in Vĩnh Kim purple star apple for its sweeter and milky taste. Photo mia.vn

Thúy said she often ordered original Lò Rèn Vĩnh Kim star apples at a price ranging from VNĐ60,000-80,000 per kilogram during its peak season.

“According to my experience, one should not eat the fruit after having seafood because the acrid myrrh inside the fruit would cause difficulties for your digestive system,” she said.

Thành said: "The star apple trees are now being carefully tended by farmers to create quality fruits to serve not only people inside the country but also for export."

He added that since 2018, the first lots of star apples had been exported to the US, bringing pride and fame for Tiền Giang since then. VNS