Common Name: Rambutan
Botanical Name: Nephelium lappaceum
Specimens From: Malaysia
Rambutan is a common fruit from South-east Asia as it is believed to be originated from around the region of Malaysia but is now cultivated in most of the tropical countries, with Thailand leading the production. The name derives from the Malay word, rambut, which means "hair" while the Chinese community call it the "red hairy" fruit. It is the most hairy fruit around and it is usually red but there is a younger brother (cultivar)which is usually smaller in size and has a yellow skin, but it is not so commonly found.
Rambutan is usually eaten out-of-hand. Just use both your thumbs to prise it open as the leathery skin is soft and easily tears apart. Pop the white, translucent flesh into your mouth or just bite it from your hand. But be careful of the single, light brown seed and don't accidentally swallow or eat it as it tastes terrible and should not be eaten.
The flesh is sweet but not as juicy nor as soft as the well-known cousin, "lychee", another red fruit in the same family. It is a nice fruit to eat but the irritating thing about rambutan is that, the skin of the seed usually sticks to the flesh and thereby end up eating the tastless skin as well. Most of the cultivars are not "freestone", only a handful is but it is hard to find!
As you can see from the first photo, the matured fruit is red and it is green when immature but some cultivars come in red skin, green hair(fruit on the right) even when it is fully riped. Do not choose those fruits with dried black hair as it indicates over-ripe and not fresh. It can still be eaten but it is hard, not so sweet and devoid of juice as it had already dried up.
Rambutans are also canned in syrup with the seeds taken off and some canned versions come with the cut pineapple stuffed inside the fruit but not sure if it ever exported to your country.
Fruit: Rambutan; Nephelium lappaceum; Sapindaceae.
Other fruits in the same family: Fijian Longan, Lychee, Pulasan, Longan.
Click here to view other types of fruits
Click here to add your favorite fruits