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A medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae, and the fruit of this tree.

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Rambutan... the Lychee and Longan's Crazy Cousin

  • Aug 14, 2009
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Although not generally as popular as it's cousins (Lychee and Longon), the Rambutan is delicious and unique in it's own right.  I've always loved Rambutan... and half the fun is getting to say "Rambutan", because it sounds like the name of a Norse God or something!  =)

Anyways, It's a popular Tropical Asian fruit that is distinctive for it's bright red and hairy appearance (think, tiny 'Tribble' from Star Trek). I also think that it tastes more "sour and tangy" than the Lychee or Longon, and perhaps not quite as sweet.  This fruit is pretty hard to find fresh in supermarkets... even in Asian supermarkets. Your best bet would be at a local "Chinatown" grocery store, if you're lucky enough to live near one.

One odd thing is that I actually prefer Rambutan canned.  I think it tastes really good that way, and it's easy to find it in a can at any Asian Supermarket.  So if you're into exotic fruits, this is definitely one you'll have to try.  So be adventurous and swing by your local Asian Supermarket to pick up a can. You may be pleasantly surprised.

An Asian Tropical fruit related to Lychee & Longan

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August 14, 2009
Whoooa, are lychee and longan really fruit cousins of rambutan?  Crazy Cousin is pretty accurate though; a rambutan is like a lychee or longon with reddish, greenish liberty spikes!
August 14, 2009
Yup, they sure are! Hey Devora, have you ever tried a fruit called the "Mamoncillo", also referred to as a "Spanish Lime"? It's also related to Lychee, Longan, and Rambutan. I had a Puerto Rican friend who told me about it... but I've never tried one. Looks like a green Longan to me though. I wonder what it tastes like =)
August 14, 2009
I just looked up Mamoncillo and added it as a data point.  It looks very familiar, but I'm not sure if I've ever had it before... That's one more fruit to add to my list of exotic fruits to try!  Have you ever had an African cucumber before?  I wanna try one of those, too!
August 14, 2009
Wow, no... I've never heard of an African cucumber. It looks a bit like a "Dragon Fruit" to me. I totally wanna try it now! :) Let me know if you ever find either one of these at the store.
August 14, 2009
It actually reminds me of a pomegranate more than a dragon fruit.  I've been wanting to try it for a while and have been asking around where I live, and people keep telling me that my best bet is the frou frou Berkeley Bowl.  They carry unusual, exotic foods on occasion, so your best bet would be to go to a higher end supermarket!
About the reviewer
Duc Truong ()
I'm a man with many hobbies. I work a full-time job in the field of 'Lyophilization' for a small Pharmacuetical company. It's a dream job because it gives me lots of days off to pursue … more
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About this food


The rambutan is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae, and the fruit of this tree. It is native to Indonesia and Southeast Asia, although its precise natural distribution is unknown. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the Lychee, Longan, and Mamoncillo. It is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago. Rambutan in Indonesian, Filipino and Malay literally means hairy caused by the 'hair' that covers this fruit. In Thailand the fruit is known as ngoh. In Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, it is known as mamón chino. There is a second species regularly for sale at Malay markets which is known as "wild" rambutan. It is a little smaller than the usual red variety and is colored yellow.

It is an evergreen tree growing to a height of 10–20 m.

The leaves are alternate, 10–30 cm long, pinnate, with 3-11 leaflets, each leaflet 5–15 cm wide and 3-10 cm broad, with an entire margin.

The flowers are small, 2.5–5 mm, apetalous, discoidal, and borne in erect terminal panicles 15–30 cm wide.

Rambutan trees are either male (producing only staminate flowers and, hence, produce no fruit), female (producing flowers that are only functionally female), or hermaphroditic (producing flowers that are female with a small percentage of male flowers).

The fruit is a round to oval drupe 3–6 cm (rarely to 8 cm) tall and 3-4 cm broad, borne in a loose pendant cluster of 10-20 together. The ...
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