Indonesian Fruit Installment 7: Rambutan
In my last fruit installment I wrote about klengkengs, so now I’d like you meet another member of the family, a closely related cousin, named rambutan. Rambutan are found all over Southeast Asia and there are several varieties found around the world. A fun Wikipedia fact: rambutan means hairy in Malay. They are in season now and you can buy three bunches for a little over a dollar.
My first experience with rambutan occurred over three years ago in Paris when I went to an Asian grocery store with Sam and Shirin. I decided to buy some rambutan because they looked funky and I liked the reddish, yellow color. My host family swore that the fruit made them wake up the next morning at 6 a.m. completely energized. I have never experienced this.
When not in season, rambutan is a bit more expensive and usually sold pre-packaged in Jakarta grocery stores. Sometimes you get lucky and meet someone who has a tree! A few weeks back when I was at my boss’s apartment baking pies and biscuits for Thanksgiving (which was wonderful), I met his maid/chef who helped me a lot in the kitchen and then fed me snacks, including rambutan that her husband harvests from their tree. I was in heaven.
Rambutan are addictive. They are light, not too big, and juicy with a nice fruity taste. You find yourself having eaten about 10 without even noticing. C’est la vie.