Have you ever wondered how to cut and eat rambutan? This hairy exotic fruit is native to Indonesia and other tropical Southeast Asian areas. The name rambutan comes from the malay word rambut meaning hair.
Rambutan, aka nephelium lappaceum, is similar to lychee fruit and longan fruits. It grows on tropical rambutan trees and has a relatively low shelf life.
Where Does Rambutan Originate From?
Rambutan is primarily native to southeast Asia, so it is available locally in Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. This fruit has spread to tropical countries around the world like Mexico, Costa Rica, Trinidad, and Honduras.
Rambutan is not a very common fruit in the United States or other parts of the world. However, many countries import this delicious tropical fruit, so you might be able to find it in your local grocery store or Asian markets.
Rambutan has a sweet flavor and tastes similar to lychee fruit. Rambutan reminds me of a mix of grapes and fresh dates. If you've ever eaten a fresh date, you may have noticed it has a bitter seed. Rambutan seeds share that quality.
The fleshy part of the rambutan is tender and a little juicy- just like a grape. Its sweet taste is like a grape but less sour and tangy. The flesh of the rambutan is also similar to lychee. Both rambutan and lychee are oval, covered with skin, and taste juicy and sweet.
Rambutan is exotic and colorful, with shades of pink, green, and bright red skin. Its outer layer is hairy and firm to the touch. This delicious fruit looks like a sea urchin. Once the fruit's outer skin is removed, translucent white flesh is revealed.
Rambutan is about the size of a golf ball; however, it's more oval than circular.
How To Cut and Eat
The best way to eat rambutan is to remove the hairy shell to reveal the rambutan flesh. Take care of the inedible seed when biting into this succulent fruit.
- Wash the fresh rambutan fruit. Put the fresh rambutans in a large bowl and fill it with water. Drain the rambutan with a strainer. If preferred, dry the rambutans with a towel.
- Cut rambutan. Using a sharp knife, cut circularly, just piercing the hairy skin. If you cut too deeply, you will also pierce the soft fruit under the skin. There's a hard seed in the middle of the fruit to be mindful of when cutting.
- Eat rambutan. After removing the hairy rambutan peel, eat the soft fleshy fruit around the seed. The seed is not easy to remove without making a mess, so eat around the large seed.
Rambutan is best eaten by itself. These whole fruits can be expensive if imported or out of season.
Rambutan's translucent flesh contains iron and a high amount of vitamin C for its small size. Rambutan is packed full of nutrients and makes a great snack. These delicious little fruits are a good choice for eating on the Mediterranean Diet.
Rambutan can be stored in or out of the fridge. It should be peeled right before it's eaten to maintain freshness. If you find ripe rambutan fruits at the supermarket, expect them to last about 4 to 5 days in the fridge and about 3 to 4 days if left at room temperature.