Monday, March 23, 2009

Happiness is a Bowl of Rambutan...

I know that happiness is supposed to be a warm puppy (at least according to Charles Schulz), and I don't disagree, but for me happiness is also a big bag of fresh rambutan picked up at the KCC Farmer's Market this weekend.

Chilled in the fridge and poured into a favorite bowl, it's the perfect snack. A decent deal at $5.00 for a 2 lb bag, they are grown on The Big Island. If you are not familiar with rambutan, you can read my previous post about them here or what Wikipedia says here.

They are crisp and sweet, similar to a lychee only with more flavor. 

You can make jams or jellies out of them, but they are so delicious to just eat on their own, that I never get a chance to do anything other than just peel and eat them.

I was introduced to rambutan when I used to travel through Asia frequently for work. The hotel I stayed at in The Philippines used to put a small plate of mostly exotic fruit in the rooms each day, with a little book explaining the different fruits. Rambutan quickly became my favorite and I ate it every chance I could get. Once, a co-worker and I bought a huge bag for less than a dollar at the market in Malaysia, (it was the only way they were selling them), and we spent the night before our departure trying to work our way through the bag so as not to waste them. I won't go into details, but an excess of rambutan is like an excess of any fruit and it wasn't a comfortable flight. Since then, I keep my consumption to normal levels. I was excited when I moved to Hawaii, to be able to buy them here when they are in season. 

On my last trip to Portland, I actually found freeze dried rambutan at Trader Joe's for about $3.00 a bag. No sugar, no sulfites, just rambutan. 

Although they are not as tasty as the fresh fruit, they are fun to try.

So although rambutan are a bit strange looking and are not cuddly like a warm puppy, (the "hairs" on them feel a bit like plastic), they still make me happy.


On the subject of exotic fruit; a challenge for today--can you identify the fruit below?  It was a new one for me. I picked up a smaller bag of these little jewels, also from the Big Island at the farmer's market. These beauties, I will be making into something this week. Leave a comment with your guess and I'll let you know the answer tomorrow. You don't get a prize if you are correct, just the intense satisfaction of knowing how truly smart you are!

(Update: The answer is posted in the comments section now. Just in case you want to guess before you read it!)


  1. Oh Deb...these Rambutan make me smile! I've never tried them, but I do like Lychee, so.... The dried version looks pretty tasty, too.

    On to the photo...are they the infamous Meyer Lemons?

  2. They almost look unreal in their color and texture! Very cool and unfortunately, something I would never be able to find in the Midwest, although I haven't tried my Trader Joe's...

  3. I love rambutan! The fresh ones are so much better than the freeze dried. I haven't seen them around here for a while now, I am jealous that you have access to them.

  4. I've never heard of rambutan, much less seen one before - so that was a very interesting lesson for me!

    The fruit below is either key limes, or meyer lemons. They're too small to be pumelos.

  5. Hmm, I am not too up on my tropical fruits. I was going to say pomello but Megan says they are too small.. I guess I will hop on the Meyer bandwagon - but I have never had either.
    Rambutan looks really neat! That one scalped one reminds me of that Hannibal movie...

  6. freeze dried that sounds like an interesting texture...I would have to say lilikoi (passion fruit) or kumquat (can't tell the size of the fruit).

  7. No one has it yet!

    Kat, they are small and vary in size but are roughly the size range of quail eggs to walnuts.

  8. I've never heard of Ramutan! Their kind of pretty and I didn't expect the inside to look the way they did. Are those guava?

  9. What beautiful pics!!! They look so yummy, and i know they really are!! miss you...

  10. wow those are cool! Are the mystery fruit quince?

  11. Glad everyone liked the Rambutan!

    Many of you were half right but the mystery fruit is....
    (Drumroll please!)............

    Limequats! I had never heard of them but apparently they are a cross between a lime and a kumquat. I will write more about them in another post soon, including what I am going to do with them!

  12. I have never heard of rambutan, it sounds like one of those drugs that they advertise on TV!

  13. Thank you so much for posting about Rambutan. I've never seen, heard or experienced them and didn't know of them at all. They are so different looking and pretty cool. Since you've said they're delicious, I'll try them out if I get a chance.


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