Dried candy fruit: A specialty of Hanoi

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Hang Duong’s dried candy fruit

Hang Duong is the name of the popular street in 36 Old Quarters in Hanoi. Hang Duong Street sells lots of dried candy fruit which is called “Ô mai” in Vietnamese and it is also a street specializing in producing dried candy fruit in Hanoi.

Dried candy fruit is traditional medicine in Vietnam. With delicious taste, effects like real foods, pharmaceuticals, gradually sold individually. Nowadays, Hang Duong’s dried candy fruit is considered to be a specialty of Hanoi city.

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Popular specialty of Hanoi

No one knows when the Hang Duong’s dried candy fruit appeared, according to the elderly living at Hang Duong Street, who used to sell jams, cakes, and candies. By 1940, a few rows of small dried candy fruit appeared, from there mushrooming the street.

Hang Duong’s dried candy fruit is made from many fruits such as apricots, or lemons, dracontomelon, plums, and ginger…coated in different colors: apricots are black, or ginger is yellow, and peaches are pink… Therefore, dried candy fruit looks very tasty.

Each store sold O mai has a different way of tasting, but none of them are the same, creating a rich taste of this place.

Hanoi people like Hang Duong’s O mai, domestic and foreign tourists often come to enjoy them or buy them as gifts. Even, Hang Duong’s apricot dried fruit exports to other countries. Although there are dried candy fruit production areas in Vietnam, there is nowhere to achieve a reputation as Hang Duong.

Some reputable addresses of Hang Duong’s O mai

candied-fruit

Currently, Hang Duong Street not only sells dried candy fruit and candies, but there are many shops selling other items. Shops which sell O mai are not as many as they used to be. However, these are famous addresses for yummy dried candy fruit:

  • Mai Hong Lam: 11 Hang Duong, one of the most famous shops in Hang Duong. Numerous tourists passing by can’t resist the allure when they first saw the image of O mai sold at the stall. The price is from 35,000 – 50,000VND  /tael.
  • O mai Gia Loi: No 8 Hang Duong, this store sold good dried candy fruit with reasonable price. Candied apricot is loved by many local people because of its alluring taste. Price: 40.000VND/tael.
  • O mai Tien Thinh: Located at No 21 Hang Duong, O mai Tien Thing is famous for their authentic style. Their dried candy fruit is displayed in glass-case with other Vietnamese traditional food: cassava, banh khao (sweet short cake),… Price: 40.000VND/tael.

Nowsaday, dried candy fruit are no longer a specialty in Hang Duong street. Tourists can easily buy them in markets, supermarkets or small shops. However, the taste, quality of dried candy fruit in those places is difficult to say because there are many chemicals impregnated from China to Vietnam. Therefore, Hang Duong’s candied fruit is often preferred.

The taste of O mai Hang Duong is very specific, sour, spicy, salty or sweet, all rich, deposited on the tongue, sweet in the throat, difficult for ones elsewhere. Southerners like  dracontomelon candied fruit… and northern people prefer the flavor such as licorice, ginger, or lemon, apricots … to hold in mouth in the cold weather.