Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rambutan: The Fuzzy Fruit

I don't know if the rambutan is more fuzzy than prickly. I mean, it sure does look like a sea urchin or a porcupine egg (if porcupines had eggs), but when you actually pick it up, the weird prickly looking needles are actually soft and doesn't harm you at all.

So doesn't this fruit look totally exotic? It's from Southeast Asia and is definitely a tropical fruit. I saw a lot of them in Vietnam, but even there it was considered a specialty so it was a bit pricey. I started seeing them this weekend in the Bay Area. They were selling for $7.49 a pound at the Markethall grocer in Rockridge and $4.49 a pound at a store in Oakland Chinatown. That's crazy expensive, but if you buy a handful, they're not very heavy and it's an impressive dessert for a dinner.

The rambutan is similar to the lychee or another white-flesh tropical fruit the Chinese called lung ahn (literal translation: "dragon eyes"). The rambutan isn't as sweet or juicy as a lychee, more like a lung ahn, but it's bigger than the lung ahn. The skin, once you get past the prickly needles, is thicker than the lychee, so it's easier to just cut into it with a knife. But it peels off easily once you make that initial slice. Just don't get it confused with your pin cushion.

1 comment:

foodhoe said...

ooh, those came in our fruit baskets in our hotel in thailand... i loved them and didn't know they were available here. i'll have to check it out in chinatown, thx for the heads up!