Pouteria lucuma - ripe lucumas

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.

Pouteria lucuma
Pouteria lucuma

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
    Genus: Pouteria
    Species: P. lucuma
  • English name: lucuma
  • Vietnamese names: lêkima, lê ki ma, trứng gà

Cultivation

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.

Harvesting lucuma eggfruits in Dong Thap province
Harvesting lucuma eggfruits in Đồng Tháp province

Recently, the lucuma tree becomes a bonsai or ornamental tree.

A bonsai lucuma tree in Vietnam
A bonsai lucuma tree in Vietnam

Culinary uses

The lucuma can be eaten as is, but the fruits need to reach full-ripe stage. Semi-ripe lucumas are still too acrid.

Lucuma eggfruits sold by a street vendor
Lucuma eggfruits sold by a street vendor in southwestern Vietnam
Pouteria lucuma - ripe lucumas
Ripe lucumas

Some local Vietnamese chefs also use the fruit in some deserts such as Vietnamese sweet soups, or cakes.

lucuma banh bo
Lucuma bánh bò – a traditional spongy cake
Lucuma sweet soup
Lucuma sweet soup
Lucuma sponge cake
Lucuma sponge cake
lucuma smoothie
Lucuma smoothie

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