On a post-lunch ride to the wall with the god yesterday, I struck a long-faced, pith-helmeted bloke with a bike, a set of scales and bunches of balls. Red and yellow balls. Meticulously bunched, from a distance they resembled malnourished lychees. Up close, on the corner of Ba Trieu and Nguyen Du streets, where this bloke works in tandem with some pink rose sellers, the fruit's altogether berry like.
Grown in Ha Dong on the outskirts of Hanoi in the summer, I hadn't clapped eyes on these in four previous hot seasons. Purchasing fruit in Hanoi is a 'try-before-you-buy' experiment, a bit of bluff and negotiation, a raised voice, a smile and, all being well, an agreement. Our vendor clipped off a sample of his wares which we duly popped in our fruit holes.
The flesh is yellow, sweet like a ripe plum but there's not much of it. Most of this berry is a big pip, some of which you can see scattered about on the road in the photograph. In Vietnamese, they go by the name of soan dao (dao meaning peach).
In English, your guess is as good as mine?