Along with some of the most picturesque scenery in the world, Hawaii has some of the richest soil anywhere known to man. The result of the favorable climate and soil includes some of the most unusual and exotic fruits grown on the islands.
Some of these unusual fruits include lilikoi, longan, guave, dragon fruit, and rambutun. You will not see these critters in your local food market.
Some specialty stores and Asian stores may carry these beautiful creatures. Also, you can also have these fruits shipped to your home. I regularly have guava from Hawaii shipped to my home on the mainland.
Now, one of the most unusual-looking fruit you will see in Hawaii is the rambutan. It looks like something out the ʺTribblesʺ episode of the original Star Trek television series.
I absolutely love the taste and texture of this fruit. If you like lychee, you might also like rambutan.
The rambutun is about the size of an egg. The outer skin has soft reddish spinterns. These resemble fuzzy looking tentacles.
Once you break through the outer skin and peel away the outer layer, you have an opaque-colored rambutun. It also has a white skin lining, similar to an orange or grapefruit.
The texture is similar to a plum with a nut in the middle. I generally eat around the nut. However, one bed and breakfast owner in Hilo told me, some people like to eat the nut.
According to HawaiiExoticFruits.com here are some interesting facts about rambutans:
• The rambutan (nephelium lappaceum) is also known as the hairy lychee
• The fruit is native to Southeast Asia. The Malay word rambut means "hairy"
• In Hawaii, it is sometimes referred to as the hula berry
• When the top half of the skin is removed, the bottom half resembles a hula skirt.
• There are approximately 12-16 rambutans per pound
• The taste is refreshingly sweet and juicy
• Several varieties are grown in Hawaii, extending the season to about six months
• Look for fresh Hawaii-grown rambutan from September to March
• Rambutans can be refrigerated in a breathable bag for up to 10 days
• Blemishes occur the more the fruit is handled