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Western couple selling strange coconut dishes, attracting customers

For decades, Mr. and Mrs. Nguyen Van Men (Ben Tre province) roamed around the highlands to sell Western water coconut (Nypa fruticans). It is strange that cool water attracts tourists to the mountain town.

Mr. Nguyen Van Men and Mrs. Phan Thi Em (from Ba Tri district, Ben Tre province) roamed the streets of the plateau selling specialties of the western river region.

Stopping on Le Loi Street (Quyet Thang Ward, Kon Tum City), we were told about the ups and downs of making a living on the roadside throughout the provinces in the Central Highlands for decades.

Western couple selling strange coconut dishes, attracting customers
For decades, the couple has been traveling around the Central Highlands provinces to sell water coconuts (Photo: Pham Hoang).

Mrs. Em confided that it was difficult in her hometown, working in the fields but not having enough to eat. The couple discussed bringing the specialty of the West, which is the water coconut dish, to the mountain to sell. Initially, the couple brought nipa coconut from Ben Tre to Gia Lai to sell and then roam around the Central Highlands provinces.

“The specialty of the river is strange to the highlanders, so many customers want to enjoy it. Coconut water is cool and sweet, especially selling in the hot season. Since then, I have had both income and joy because I can promote delicious dishes. my homeland,” she confided.

Every day, grandparents earn from 700,000 VND to millions of dollars with the dish of water coconut (Photo: Pham Hoang).

For nearly 3 years now, the couple’s products are mainly sold on the roadside in Kon Tum city. One day pushing a cart to sell coconuts all over the street, for 50,000 VND each, both coconut water and coconut rice, the couple earns 700 thousand VND to 1 million VND. In addition, Mrs. Men and her husband also sell jaggery, which is also a specialty of the West.

According to Ms. Men, water coconut is both cool and healthy, the shape of the coconut is strange to highland people, so anyone passing by can also buy it. Taste it and then buy more for family members. Water and copra can be frozen for several days.

After picking, the coconuts are separated from each other, then split in half and scraped to get the coconut inside. Coconut water served with ice and sugar has a very good cooling and refreshing effect. Many people do not eat all of it, then dry the coconut rice and use it gradually.

The season of nipa in the West starts from March to November every year, so usually by the end of November, the couple will return to their hometown in Ben Tre.

The old car that the two grandparents pushed around the streets every day (Photo: Pham Hoang).

Ms. Nguyen Thi Huong (residing in Duy Tan ward, Kon Tum city) said: “Looking at the strange coconut, I also bought it to try. After eating it, I found the sweetness to be medium, bar and better when eaten with jaggery. This is a cool dish, suitable for hot weather in Kon Tum”. 

Coconut dishes in the West attract tourists to the mountain town (Photo: Pham Hoang).

Because of the delicious Western coconut dish, many Kon Tum customers have bought it and stored it gradually, especially on hot sunny days like today. Those who have not seen it are also curious to try and find it delicious, so they bring it home as a gift for friends and relatives.

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