Back home, my mom is the smoothie queen. When I’m visiting, the sound of the blender whirring in the late afternoon tips me off that I’ll soon get to sample her latest creation. Smoothies are such a delicious way to beat the heat in Southeast Asia, and they’re obligingly on pretty much every menu. I’m guilty of ordering one with essentially every meal… In Can Tho, Vietnam, I had a favorite spot for mango smoothies. Here, my hands-down favorite is the mango-passion fruit combo – although many places serve it with the passion fruit seeds included, which I’m more ambivalent about.
Jacque and I recently decided to test out the small blender in our kitchen to grind up the selection of tropical fruits we bought at the market. I was surprised when she sliced open a dragonfruit to reveal dripping flesh in garish pink — I’d only ever seen the Dalmatian-esque white- with-black-seeds variety. In any case, the smoothie was an instant winner in the color department! Taste wise, it wasn’t much — the rather bland apple I threw in overpowered the more subtle taste of the tropical fruits, like mangosteen and rambutan. We didn’t quite have the blender screwed on all the way, so the end result was a fun color explosion, reminiscent of a high school chemistry lab.
The second time around, I was going for the gold. I had been on a mission to buy a pineapple at the market, and I got one so ripe that in a matter of days it was turning to juice, whether I liked it or not. So into the blender it went, with some mango and banana for good measure. I’d say it was a winner!