Another thing Phan Thiet the local big town is famous for is it’s dragon fruit. It is grown all along the A1 road which was the one we came down on our epic drive here taking over 5 hours. The road is poor to say the least and in some spots it is almost non existent. Sitting in a car you are bounced around and everything begins to ache even your teeth from the incessant pounding you are taking. Most overtaking is done on the inside on the so called hard shoulder which is actually a dusty track. It is exciting when buses do it to you. Blaring horns and then it comes thrashing past you on the inside leaving you in a cloud of dust.
What is funny is the fact that you go through toll stations on the way down here.I thought perhaps they were going to pay us for travelling on this makeshift piece of tarmac but no they wanted money for it.
Still towards the end of the A1 there certainly are plenty of dragon fruit farms and the farmers set up stalls to sell some of the produce.
It is a staple at breakfast at the Villa Aria each morning
It’s the one in front that looks like ants are crawling on it ( those are the pips ).
When you read the guide books they make it sound very much like it is a Vietnam fruit born and bred and that it was used in the past for ancestral rituals. Only recently has it moved into full production as a fruit.
However some simple research on Goggle reveals it is a fruit called Pitaya and is actually part of the cactus family.
It comes originally from Mexico and the Europeans bought it back to Europe with them along with chilli tobacco and potatoes.
Europeans then took the fruit on to South East Asia to try growing it out there. Interestingly the fruit only flowers at night so has to rely on moths and bats to pollinate it. How about that.
It is very easy to grow once you have one and any part of an old root planted takes in the soil very quickly. It will take some frost though maybe not the frosts in Martina Franca and being a cactus it doesn’t like lots of water. Rainfall around this region of Vietnam is about 1500 mm each year which strangely enough is only a couple of hundred mm over the rainfall in Martina Franca and this is considered a monsoonal climate.
Actually the fruit doesn’t really taste of much which is why you put it with others on a plate.
I have however found an excellent use for it as it makes a very fine cocktail mixed with vodka to have by the pool at lunchtime. Here’s mine
The Vietnamese also make their own vodka called Hanoi Vodka though I am told it is very difficult to find it up there for some reason. Here it is on sale at every corner shop and costs about £1.70 for a 750ml bottle. If you’re a bit wary of local vodka though it tastes fine Smirnoff is about £6 a bottle but check the seal is intact.
Busy day today blog wise. i did one for Here in Puglia so if you have time check it out. The reason was that the weather has changed over the last few days and we have had 3 days of cloud. Hopefully things ail pick up again soon.