In addition to jackfruit and mangosteen, water coconut is a very popular fruit in China that many Vietnamese may not know.
WATER COCONUT – THE FAVORITE FRUIT IN THE COUNTRY OF BILLIONS OF PEOPLE
Many Vietnamese tropical fruits are very popular in China such as jackfruit or mangosteen. Water coconut is one of them.
In China, it grows abundantly in Hainan province. Due to its strange appearance, at first, people in Hainan did not care and only considered it as a tool to control floods. Later, someone accidentally pierced the water coconut and tasted it. Then, this fruit gradually became a popular drink ingredient on Hainan Island.
Due to its appearance, at first, people thought that this fruit could not be eaten.
Vietnamese coconuts are grown from the North to the South, especially in coastal provinces. Ben Tre is a famous locality for coconut with the highest coconut planting area in the country.
The condition for growing water coconuts is quite special. A large area of mangrove land is required. In China, it is difficult to meet this condition so water coconut trees cannot grow well.
The ratio of coconut shell and pulp is about 5:1 as well as the transportation cost from Vietnam makes the price of water coconut in China quite expensive. Many Chinese come to Vietnam to enjoy water coconuts, which are processed into sweet soup or drinks at affordable prices. Now, some places in China are planning to grow water coconuts to increase the supply for the market of billions of people.
Water coconut’s taste is associated with lychee.
SURPRISING USES OF WATER COCONUTS
In Vietnam, water coconuts (scientific name: Nypa fruticans) grow in muddy areas along the river banks, or coastal areas with up and down tides and slow-flowing water that provides nutrients.
The stems grow horizontally underground, with only leaves and flowers on top. Coconut water is available all year round but most in the summer, especially in much rainy months.
After picking the coconut water, people will separate it to take the white pulp inside. Coconut pulp is often enjoyed with sugar water added with ice or to make jam or sweet soup. Now, it is also canned or dried for convenient storage and transportation.
People often use water coconut leaves to roof houses, knit baskets or handicrafts, and make firewood.
In addition, the water coconut resin can be cooked into sugar or fermented to make vinegar. Coconut water has a cooling effect, helps prevent pimples, and beautifies the skin.
A water coconut forest in Vietnam.
Some water coconut forests in Vietnam have become popular tourist destinations such as Cam Thanh (Quang Nam) or Ca Ninh (Quang Ngai)…
Water coconuts also grow in some other Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia,… In Rote and Savu islands (Indonesia), people feed pigs with water coconuts in the dry season to make the meat sweeter.
Water coconut vinegar is a great ingredient for making attractive dishes at restaurants in Thailand and the Philippines. In Malaysia, water coconut sugar is an export item./.