In this case “mít” is pronounced “meat” but it means jackfruit.
A couple of weeks ago I was in Central Vietnam and it was in full jackfruit season. This made me and my travel companions very happy because we love mít. There was jackfruit everywhere, along the road, in stores, in the office, in the villages.
Have you eaten jackfruit before?
It is a very large fruit. Bigger than my head. Even bigger than your dad/uncle Steve Z.’s head (and that’s saying something). Jackfruits are the largest tree borne fruit and can weigh up to 80 pounds. The outside is covered with sharp, little bumps and looks quite intimidating but inside is piles and piles of delicious fruit that you can pull out in little clumps and peel off the seeds.
Apparently the fruit was first cultivated in India but slowly made its way through South and Southeast Asia hundreds of years ago. We ate it growing up in the Philippines where it was called langka and sometimes wrapped inside egg roll wrappers with bananas and fried to produce a yummy dessert.
I hear there are a few jackfruit trees in the Asia section of the San Diego zoo. Maybe you should go check them out.
Vietnam has two main varieties of jackfruit and they look mostly the same from the outside but the fruit on the inside is a bit different. One type is more dry and floral smelling and tasting (my favorite) and the other is more wet with a stronger ripe banana smell and very, very sweet. My traveling companion, Quynh, calls it the honey jackfruit and it is her favorite. I think she could eat her weight in jackfruit if you gave her enough time (and enough jackfruits).
When we go to Vietnam I hope it will be jackfruit season because those were some of the best jackfruits I have eaten anywhere in the world. We just have to get there before Quynh eats them all. Also she has a daughter about your age and if her daughter likes jackfruit as much as she does, we may be in trouble.
What would you like to eat in Vietnam? I hate to tell you this, but I have already eaten all the pho. And I’m ready to move on to the bun cha so you’d better get here soon…