Pouteria lucuma – The eggfruit in Vietnam
Pouteria lucuma is a species of flowering tree of the genus Pouteria (eggfruits) in the family Sapotaceae, cultivated for its fruit, the lúcuma. It is native to the Andean valleys of Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.
In Vietnam, Pouteria lucuma is known as Lêkima (an altered pronunciation of lucuma) or trứng gà (eggfruit) because its flesh is sweet, with a texture often compared to that of a hard-boiled egg yolk.
- Family: Sapotaceae
Species: P. lucuma
- English name: lucuma
- Vietnamese names: lêkima, lê ki ma, trứng gà
The lucuma tree is cultivated mainly in southern Vietnam because the hot climate is more ideal for the eggfruit to grow. In the past, the tree is grown for its fruits, but the lucuma is less prized than other tropical fruits in Vietnam.
Recently, the lucuma tree becomes a bonsai or ornamental tree.
The lucuma can be eaten as is, but the fruits need to reach full-ripe stage. Semi-ripe lucumas are still too acrid.
Some local Vietnamese chefs also use the fruit in some deserts such as Vietnamese sweet soups, or cakes.