Gấc (Momordica cochinchinensis) is found throughout Southeast Asia. Gấc is notable for its orange fruit rich in beta-carotene and lycopene.
The Vietnamese word gấc (pronounced [ɣək˦˥]) should more completely be called quả gấc (quả being a classifier for a fruit). It is known as red melon, baby jackfruit, spiny bitter gourd, sweet gourd, or cochinchin gourd in English.
The fruit itself becomes a dark orange color upon ripening, and is typically round or oblong, maturing to a size of about 13 cm (5.1 in) in length and 10 cm (3.9 in) in diameter. Its exocarp, or exterior skin, is covered in small spines. Its mesocarp is dense, light-orange in color, and has a mild taste with flavor similar to that of cucumber. The edible seeds are brown or black in color, surrounded by dark red membraneous sacs, and have a mild, nutty flavor.
Historically, gấc has been used as both food and traditional medicine. Its fruit and leaves are used in Vietnamese culinary dishes. In traditional Chinese medicine, the seeds of gấc in Mandarin Chinese are employed for a variety of internal and external purposes.