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As a tropical country, Vietnam is home to an enormous range of fruit, and from north to south, the colours of flowering and fruiting trees are visible almost everywhere. Here in the south with its more developed agriculture, the sheer variety of fruit is particularly evident. For fruit lovers domiciled in Ho Chi Minh City, spoilt for choice as they are, the only really important question that remains about what goes on the fruit platter is when to buy. Make your selection carefully There are two distinct seasons in the south of Vietnam – rainy and dry. Fruiting plants that evolved in this region reflect this pattern in their life cycle, and orchardists have learnt to take advantage of this. During peak times, not an inch of available land is left devoid of a fruit tree, and the national distribution of fruit goes into regular frenzies. The same is true in the north, where seasons are more varied – technically, they have all four – although in the central areas fruit growing is hampered by annual saltwater flooding. It hasn’t always been so well-organised: to adapt to increasing export demand, GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) standards have been gradually introduced to help farmers improve their planting techniques, resulting in a greatly increased supply and more reliable quality. This is an important improvement considering the competition – lax import procedures have occasionally been held responsible for cheap, poor-quality foreign products being introduced on the Vietnamese fruit market. Many Vietnamese people trust only local fruit even if the prices are higher, but with so much fruit traded at open markets, it’s not always possible to tell the difference. Many Westerners prefer to shop for fruit at reputable supermarkets (such as Metro, Big C, and Co-op Mart) to avoid purchasing low-quality health-hazards – at