O Mai (sugared or salted fruits) is favored by most Vietnamese people, especially women. In Tet holiday, O Mai is an indispensible snack in the list must buy of most Hanoi people to welcome guests in Tet occasion. All people gather, talk and enjoy O Mai with cup of lotus tea has been considered as Hanoi traditional culture.
It is one kind of jam but not the liquid form and served with bread, O Mai is mainly in dry form.
O Mai is a harmonious combination of salty of salt, sweet taste of sugar, cool taste of licorice, pungent taste of fresh ginger and specific natural flavor of fruits. The main ingredient to make O Mai is a wide variety of fruits such as apricots, plums, peach, kumquat, star fruit, mango, jackfruit dracontomelum , tamarind to ginger, carrot, sweet potato…along with some condiments like chili, ginger, licorice, sugar, salt, lime, alum…
As increasing demand and different taste of customer, O Mai makers are now adding more fruits from all regions to adapt from traditional recipe.
From popular fruits to most Vietnamese people, but to have color and specific flavor, each processing facility in Hanoi has traditional unique “know-how” kept by many family generations.
To make O Mai with not only eye-catching but also delicious and unforgettable flavors requires meticulous and delicate process. From selecting, sorting fruits, soaking to brewed salted, drying. From the same fruits but interestingly under the skillful hands and creativity of Ô mai makers, we can find a great deal of flavor like kind of sour, kind of sweet – spicy – sour – salty – sweet mixed in harmony together to bring unforgettable flavor for any one has chance to enjoy this specialty.
According to traditional medicine, O Mai has cooling effect, relieves cough and it can be combined with many ingredients to treat pertussis, hoarseness, bronchitis, pharyngitis. In folk, O Mai has been used as medicine to treat cough, anti-dry throat, sore throat, hoarse voice, under method of decoction or keep in mouth. O Mai can be used along with honey or ginger for more effective especially coughs due to cold or sore throat.
In Hanoi, Hang Duong Street is so famous for O Mai with its longstanding family tradition. The most famous is Hong Lam (number 11) or Gia Loi (number 8) with full of types with number up to several dozen. Interestingly, at these shop, you can feel free to taste all kind of O Mai before deciding buy the most favorite. O Mai is a delicious affordable gift for your friends each time you came to Hanoi. Return home, in luggage, do not forget to bring along Hanoi flavor with a little sour – bitter – salty – sweet flavor of O Mai.