Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Fruits are a must at the Vietnamese Tet festival because they are for decorating houses, offering ancestors, eating with other foods or as desserts, serving guests and bring good luck, positive vibes, happiness, prosperity to Vietnamese homes. What are favorite fruits to buy for the lunar new year in the S-shaped country? The Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival are as follows:

Watermelon (Dưa hấu)

Arranging watermelon on altars, in living rooms and eating this food has been a tradition of Vietnamese people at Tet festival for many years. In a famous Vietnamese folktale – the legend of watermelon, Mai An Tiem was adopted child of King Hung and made the king angry because of the thought “self-reliance”. His family was sent to a desert island where he grew watermelons and sold them for foods and other commodities. King Hung regretted about his decision and welcomed Mai An Tiem’s family back. The son offered his father watermelons with green skin and red flesh to express his love and respect to the king. Since then, Vietnamese people started grow watermelon, offering this fruits to ancestors, arranging them in houses at Tet.

Watermelons in Vietnam have sweet and juicy red or yellow flesh, green or yellow shiny skin. Yellow, red and green are lucky colors in the country at Tet so that this fruit is one of the most favorite fruits at the festival. Watermelon is believed to bring luckiness to Vietnamese people.

Vietnamese people believe that sweet foods bring “sweet things” to their life. Sour foods are not good choices at this time. There are usually many greasy foods such as Braised pork belly and eggs with caramel, Pork jelly, Square sticky rice cake at Tet. Watermelon is refreshing and usually served with main dishes as a dessert or even a vegetable.

A square sticker with a red background, dragon, phoenix and meaningful words in Chinese or Vietnamese is usually pasted on the watermelon which is used to decorate a house. In recent years, artists carve meaningful words on watermelons. They are also topped with nice plastic ribbon flowers.

Oval striped watermelons - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Oval striped watermelons.

 - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

The traditional watermelon is green and spherical (commonly called round), it goes with a red square sticker.

Yellow watermelon - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Yellow watermelon.

 - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

“Tài”, literally meaning talent or money, is carved skillfully on a shiny watermelon.

Five-fruit trays could not be missed at Tet in Vietnam, they are usually arranged on ancestor altars. Although it is called five-fruit tray, the tray can consist of 4-10 kinds of fruits. People in different regions of the country try to find seasonal fruits with good meanings to arrange on the tray.

Traditionally, the tray in South Vietnam should consist of Cầu (soursop or apple custard), dừa (coconut), đủ (papaya), xoài (mango), sung (fig fruit). The name of these fruits are connected into the phrase Cầu vừa đủ xài sung which literally means Pray, enough, spend, prosperity and can be translated into English as Pray for enough money to spend and prosperity. The five fruits are sold popularly at markets, fruit stores and supermarkets when Tet festival is coming, they are included in the list of the Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet festival. Besides, it is better to choose fruits with different colors, five colors is the best.


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Soursop (Mãng cầu xiêm)

The name of this fruits contains “cầu” word so that it is a favorite fruit to arrange on Five-fruit tray. They can choose green young soursops or yellow ripe soursops. The plumpy fruits also represent the abundance of wealth and health. It also represents success and job promotion.

For more information, this fruit is not sweet but a little sour or very sour. It contains 35% of vitamins including B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, choline, especially 25% vitamin C. The fruit flesh has a large number of health benefits. Vietnamese people usually add sugar to the flesh and eat or make soursop smoothies.

Unripe and ripe soursop - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Unripe and ripe soursop.

Apple custard (Mãng cầu ta)

The name of this fruit also contains the word “cầu” – the first word in the phrase. The fruits look nice when they are arranged on the tray with other fruits. Some people prefer this kind of “cầu” to soursop because an apple custard fruit is smaller and easier to arrange in a small tray than a soursop.

Apple custard - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Apple custards with fresh stalks and green leaves which prove that they have just been harvested.

Coconut (Dừa)

Dừa is the second word in the phrase. It represents fullness. Vietnamese people are not greedy, they do not ask so much but enough. Green, red, orange and yellow coconut fruits are favorite choices. They usually arrange young coconuts which are smaller than the

small orange coconut fruits - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

These small orange coconut fruits look so nice.

Papaya (Đu đủ)

In Vietnamese, they call papaya “đủ” which means adequation. Similar to coconut fruits, medium or small green or yellow young papayas are usually chosen.

Small-sized yellow papayas for arranging Five-fruit trays - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Small-sized yellow papayas for arranging Five-fruit trays. They are not for eating.

Mango (Xoài or Xài)

The name of mango in Vietnamese means spend money. They wish to have enough money to spend in the new year. Ripe mangoes have amazing smell, they can choose ripe or unripe mangoes, red, yellow, or green ones.

Mangoes in lucky colors including red and yellow - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Mangoes in lucky colors including red and yellow.

Fig fruits (Sung)

Sung means prosperity (sung túc) and full of strange (sung sức). This is the last word in the phrase. Bunches of small fruits have sweet smell. A few Vietnamese people love to eat them with salt but the others have never eaten them.

Fig fruits change their fruit from green to red - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Fig fruits change their fruit from green to red.

On Five-fruit trays in North Vietnam, they usually arrange bananas, pomelos (or oranges), peaches, persimmons and mandarins. Banana (chuối) is not a choice in South Vietnam because it represents “fall”. Orange which literally means “resignation” is not arranged in South Vietnam but North Vietnam.

Pomelo (Bưởi)

Pomelos have green or yellow skin and look plumpy, they represent the abundance of health, wealth and happiness. So the fruits are usually arranged in Vietnamese houses. In South Vietnam, it is decorated with lucky stickers and arranged on separate plates in houses. In North Vietnam, it is one of the fruits on Five-fruit tray.

In addition, it is highly nutritious, full of fiber, rich in antioxidants and contains lots of vitamins including vitamin C. It is a good fruit to eat after eating many foods which are high-protein and high-fat.

vendor sells pomelos for Tet festival at a local market

A vendor sells pomelos for Tet festival at a local market.

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Mandarin (Quýt)

Mandarin represents success so that it is chosen to arrange on Five-fruit tray in Northern Vietnam. It is high in vitamin C and very good for your health. Orange, red, yellow and green mandarins all look great. People in Northern provinces prefer red mandarins while Southern people prefer green and yellow ones.

Shiny and plumpy mandarins - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Shiny and plumpy mandarins.

People in Central Vietnam find nice-looking fruits to arrange on their trays. Dragon fruits are abundant in the Central and they are good choices. Nowadays, people in the country arrange the tray with “pretty” fruits or fruits with “lucky names”. Sometimes, it is difficult to find all of the must foods of traditional trays.

Dragon fruit (Thanh long)

Pink dragon fruits with green thorns look like lovely dragon.

Dragon fruit - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Dragon fruits.

Red pineapple (Khóm kiểng)

Red small pineapple (Ananas comosus) is small and red, it is usually used to arranged on the tray but not for eating.

Papayas, fig fruits, soursops, young yellow melons, red pineapples - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

Papayas, fig fruits, soursops, young yellow melons, red pineapples are sold at a local market.

Besides fruits for arranging Five-fruit trays and decorating houses, Vietnamese people also eat many fruits at Tet festival. Watermelons, pomelos, mandarins, apple custards, and some imported fruits.

Imported fruits

Imported fruits such as apples, grapes and pears are bought to eat and gift at Tet festivals.

A fruit store sells local fruits and imported fruits - Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival

A fruit store sells local fruits and imported fruits.

Where to buy the The Top fruits at Vietnamese Tet Festival?

Markets, supermarket and fruit stores are places for buying fruits at Tet. They will definitely make your house look beautiful and help you to boost energy with lots of health benefits.

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