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Saigon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia and “Quế Trà My” or “Quế Thanh” in Vietnam) is an evergreen tree in the genus Cinnamomum, indigenous to mainland Southeast Asia. Despite its name, it is more closely related to Cassia (C. aromaticum) than to Cinnamon (C. verum), though in the same genus as both. Saigon cinnamon has 1-5% essential oil in content and 25% cinnamaldehyde in essential oil, which is the highest of any cinnamon all over the world. Saigon cinnamon is considered to be the fame of Cao Sơn Ngọc Quế (gem cinnamon on high mountain).
The scientific name was originally spelled as Cinnamomum loureirii, but because the species is named after the botanist João de Loureiro, this is to be treated under the ICBN as an orthographic error for the correctly derived spelling of loureiroi.
Saigon Cinnamon is produced primarily in Vietnam, both for domestic use and export. The Vietnam War disrupted production, but since the beginning of the early 21st century Vietnam has resumed export of the spice, including to the United States, where it was unavailable for nearly 20 years. Although it is called Saigon Cinnamon, it is not produced in the area around the southern city of Saigon, but instead in the central and northern regions of the country, particularly the Quảng Nam Province of central Vietnam.
Saigon Cinnamon is used primarily for its aromatic bark, which is quite similar to that of Cassia but with a more pronounced, complex aroma.
In Vietnamese cuisine, Saigon Cinnamon bark is an important ingredient in the broth used to make the noodle soup called phở.
Categories: Laurales | Spices