These spiky shelled beauties hides sweet flesh underneath.

It might be fitting on a movie set, this Rambutan (ram-boo-tan) fruit business. Exotic, futuristic-looking with a squishy inside, this seeded pod is somewhat like a lychee and chenette combined. Sweet for days and perfect for slurping, Rambutan is adored by those who relish the refreshing bite it offers.

Just how did this alien-esque fruit come to the Caribbean region? By way of the Arabs who introduced the plant to other islands along their trade route many centuries ago, the Rambutan’s origins harken back to South East Asia, mainly Malaysia and Sumatra being home.

Eventually, the Dutch introduced Rambutan to Suriname and it subsequently made its way around to Trinidad and other islands.

Though chic to look at, it isn’t all fluff with this one. Rather, the Rambutan is packed with vitamins and quite possibly contains the most amount of Vitamin C per bite. The spiky exterior looks scary, but they thorns are soft and don’t cause any damage. To get to the luscious centre, one has to cut the outside in a semi-circular fashion to expose the milky white fruit.

First-timers ought not to go hard in, as there is a centre pit to be wary of. The pit isn’t edible; hence there is a level of ungraceful sucking and slurping in order to get as much flesh away from the pit as possible. Fun right? Speaking of first-timers, if you’ve suddenly gotten a hankering to try one of these delightful pods, the best ones are always bright red and the hairy spikes should be firm with green tips. If the fruit appears darker in colour and the hairs are dark and straight, you have an old Rambutan on your hands. Ideally, these fruits should be picked, popped open and sucked right away.

Since the Rambutan often resembles lychee in appearance, it’s also been used in cocktails like martinis, mojitos, rum cocktails and pretty much any alcohol that pairs well with the sweet flesh. One really interesting way of having Rambutan, other than its natural, yummy form, is by making preserves/jam. Whether or not you grew up eating them, or never heard of them before this read, the Rambutan is one of those fascinating fruit where the otherworldly outer appearance happens to match its insanely ethereal insides.

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