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Huế holds festival honouring pomelo over weekend

Update: August, 31/2018 - 18:22
Yes: Peeled pomelo to give visitors their first taste of the fruit. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu
Viet Nam News

THỪA THIÊN-HUẾ — Visitors to the former royal capital city of Huế during the National Day holiday can enjoy a fruit festival, which commences on Thursday and ends late Sunday.

The four-day fruit festival is held annually to honour a local endemic fruit tree, thanh trà, which is a species of pomelo. A thanh trà fruit is often a smaller size and has smoother skin compared to other types of pomelo.

Huế is the only locality in the country where this citrus fruit grows well. The fruit has become famous due to its unique taste and flavour. It is sweeter, and has no light bitter taste found in other types of pomelo. It also has a light mint flavour.

The fruit has become renowned because it was famously reserved for only the royal family members of the Nguyễn Dynasty (1802-1945).

During the four days of the festival, organisers set up about 100 stands and stalls in the centre of Thủy Biều Commune, an outlying area 3km west of the city centre, to showcase fruits from villages including  Nguyệt Biều, Lương Quán and Lại Bằng.

Originally, the citrus tree was grown only in those three villages, where alluvia soil was deposited annually by the Hương and Bồ rivers. A decade ago, farmers in other regions around Huế started planting the trees to meet the increasing needs of this specialty fruit from localities around the country.

Experts however said the fruits grown outside those three villages aren’t as tasty and explained that the difference is due to the different soil.

Hoàng Thị Có, a grower in Nguyệt Biều, said the farming of the fruit tree was a family tradition of the villagers.

Có said one tree lives a maximum of 80 years and they bred new trees by cutting the strong mature branches of the old tree.

At the festival, visitors get the chance to taste dishes made with the fruits, peels, and leaves of thanh trà. These include pomelo wine, pomelo spring rolls, pomelo sweet soup, pomelo tea, chicken salad with chopped pomelo leaves, dry squid-pomelo salad and pomelo peel marmalade. During the day, organisers provide electric buses to transport those want to visit the orchards growing the pomelo. — VNS

Thank you: The ladies selling pomelo at the festival. — VNS Photo Phước Bửu

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