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Canadian ginseng meets Vietnamese star apple in Saigon sorbet

Sunday, January 24, 2021, 11:45 GMT+7
Canadian ginseng meets Vietnamese star apple in Saigon sorbet
A sorbet made from Vietnamese star apples and Canadian ginseng is served at an event to promote Canadian ginseng hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City on January 19, 2021. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Participants in an event in Ho Chi Minh City this week were surprised to be served a dessert which was a combination of Canadian ginseng and Vietnamese star apples.

The sorbet, made by vice-president of the Saigon Professional Chefs' Guild Cam Thien Long, was a novel treat at the event to promote Canadian ginseng hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.

In his showcase, Long blended the flesh of purple star apples with ginseng honey to make a light purple sorbet served along with a bamboo charcoal cone.

The dessert was also topped with pistachio crumbs.

“Star apples are in season in Vietnam right now,” the chef informed the guests about the round-shape fruits which are mostly grown in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam.

A photo shows star apples, a type of tropical fruits which are grown mostly in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, sold at a local market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News

This image shows star apples, a type of tropical fruit grown mostly in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, sold at a local market in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

In Vietnam, star apples are favored by many thanks to their juicy and sweet taste like milk.

The fruits, which can be found in purple and light pink when becoming ripe, are commonly eaten as fresh fruits or used as an ingredient for smoothies.

Vietnamese star apples have also been exported to Russia and the U.S.

An inside look of star apples, a type of tropical fruits which are grown mostly in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. Photo: Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News

An inside look of purple star apples, a type of tropical fruit grown mostly in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

“I had never seen that before obviously,” Consul General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City Behzad Babakhani told Tuoi Tre News at the event.

“I was a little skeptical. 

“But when I took one bite, I was like ‘Whoa, this is good.’"

Before the star apple sorbet, guests at the event were also treated to dumplings with the fillings made from Canadian ginseng and seafood.

Chef Cam Thien Long (right) instructs Consul General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City Behzad Babakhani to make foods using Canadian ginseng and local ingredients at an event to promote Canadian ginseng in Ho Chi Minh City in January. Photo by courtesy of Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City.

Chef Cam Thien Long (right) instructs Consul General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City Behzad Babakhani to make dumplings with the fillings made from Candian ginseng and seafood at an event to promote Canadian ginseng hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City on January 19, 2021. Photo: Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City

“You can actually put it as part of your cooking at home as a sort of natural ingredient that you use to cook healthy and delicious food,” Babakhani commented.

According to the diplomat, the biggest producers of ginseng in Canada are Ontario and Quebec.

Because of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the tariffs on Canadian ginseng imports into Vietnam are now removed.

Currently, Canadian ginseng is sold in Vietnam in a wide range of products including coffee, honey, dry powder, slices, roots, and more.

A staff prepares products from Canadian ginseng displayed at an event to promote Canadian ginseng hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City in January. Photo: Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News

A staff member prepares products from Canadian ginseng displayed at an event to promote Canadian ginseng hosted by the Consulate General of Canada in Ho Chi Minh City on January 19, 2021. Photo: Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

Statistics provided by the Consulate General of Canada showed that Canadian ginseng exports to Vietnam in 2019 saw a remarkable increase to CAD2.8 million from CAD25,000 the previous year. (C$1 = $0.78)

Under the CPTPP, products extracted and processed from Canadian ginseng roots will be exempted from tax in 2022, the consulate added.

Vietnam has been one of the leading importers of Canadian agricultural and foods in ASEAN, with a 2020 turnover reaching more than C$312 million.

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Dong Nguyen / Tuoi Tre News

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