Rambutan are one of my very favorite fruits in the world. To be honest they take up such a high place in my lineup of favorite fruits due to their fun and alien appearance. The rambutan that you see in this post’s picture are perfectly ripe. They should be sweet, not tart or sour. When you find these fruit in supermarkets & Asian food stores around the western hemisphere they are sadly often not really perfect anymore. They often have brown spikes (which are soft by the way and nothing to worry about, they won’t prick you at all) but the flesh is still sometimes tasty. But it really is one of those foods that is best enjoyed in its own place of origin. I am not sure where else aside from Thailand you can get these, but they probably grow, too, in neighboring countries.
To imagine the taste I would suggest that they are somewhat similar to lychee but a little less juicy, a little firmer and they stick to their core seed, unlike the lychee that will just slip right off. I have not yet met anybody who was offended by the taste of rambutan so I think it is safe to take a chance on them when you spot them in a store. The worst that can happen is that they won’t be as flavorsome as they would be in Thailand. But they will still be fun to experiment with.
Do you have any questions about rambutan? Leave them below in comments and I will try and get back to you.