Lemon leaves are very familiar leaves to Vietnamese people, often used to sprinkle on boiled chicken as a condiment. However, we Vietnamese often pay more attention to the lemon than the leaf. Vietnamese farmers rarely consider lemon leaves as one of their sources of income. In many places, lemon leaves are sold for "as cheap as giving" in the market.
However, lemon leaves are quite expensive spices in foreign countries. At the Amazon.com online sales site, lemon leaves are for sale for about 7 USD / 1 oz, equivalent to 25g. Thus, 100g of lemon leaves costs about 28 USD (635,000 VND), 1 kg will cost about 6.35 million VND.
Perhaps because of the great profit from this ordinary leaf, a few years ago, some companies collected tens of tons of lemon leaves and exported to the European market, earning millions of dollars.
According to the leader of a company specializing in purchasing lemon leaves in the South for export, lemon leaves are widely used in many other dishes in the West.
Lemon leaves exported to the European market come in 2 forms, the spice form is packaged with galangal, dangerous chili and lemongrass products, creating the complete flavor of Thai hot pot. Compared with Thai products, the Thai hot pot seasoning in Vietnam is much more aromatic and richer. In the regular form, only lemon leaves are packed into small bags and completely frozen.
Tamarind, which is shaped in Vietnam, is a shrub, about 5 meters high with many thorns. Dwarf varieties are more popular among gardeners, and can be grown in greenhouses because they are not tolerant of cold weather.
The trunk rarely grows straight, but branches out from near the base. The leaves are ovate, 2.5-9 cm (1–3.5 inches) long, looking like orange leaves (the scientific name aurantifolia refers to the leaves of this plant as orange leaves - C. aurantium).
Lemon flowers are 2.5 cm (1 inch) in diameter, white to yellow, with pale purple veins. The tree bears fruit all year round, but bears the most fruit from May to September. The fruit ripens after 5 to 6 months when the flower blooms.