Why this pink Vietnamese bread is the result of coronavirus

The hottest-selling bread in Ho Chi Minh City is just the loveliest shade of pink. This bread, which has become the baked goods version of a viral hit, was created not for its Instagram-worthiness, but as the result of an actual virus. That pretty pink color comes from dragon fruit, and the bread was created by the ABC Bakery chain in order to use up all of the valuable fruit that Vietnam has been unable to sell due to the trade restrictions with China implemented to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

So far, this bread has been selling like hotcakes — or rather, like Popeye's chicken sandwiches minus the mayhem. ABC Bakery locations have been cranking out 20,000 loaves per day of this bread, which they created by replacing 60 percent of the water in a bread recipe with liquid from dragon fruit smoothies. People are lining up to buy it, and demand is so great that the chain has been forced to impose a five loaves per customer limit.

Bad times means great bread

A reporter from Business Insider was able to visit an ABC Bakery location in mid-February to try this bread sensation. First came a 20-minute wait in line with other customers, most wearing surgical masks to protect against any possible infection (an NBC News map shows fewer than 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vietnam, but China's next-door neighbor is taking no chances). Then, upon handing over 30,000 Vietnamese dong (about $1.30), the reporter received a bag containing five fresh loaves of shockingly pink, delicious-smelling bread. As to how the bread tasted, the reported was impressed by the "perfectly crusty outer layer," the "flavorful, airy interior," and the "subtle hint of floral fruitiness" imparted by the dragon fruit.

There's no doubt that coronavirus is a global tragedy, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars worth of economic loss and even sparking incidents of anti-Asian racism. Still, this dragon fruit bread stands as a reminder that innovation and adaptation will not only help certain companies to survive but even come up with new inventions that bring a little bit of brightly-colored, fruity-flavored joy to a frightened world.