When it comes to lychee fruits, people either love them or hate them. Their texture takes some getting used to, but their flavor is amazing. If you love them, then you’ll undoubtedly fall in love with these 6 fruits like lychee too.
Longan fruits look like smaller, less textured versions of lychees. Their skin isn’t quite as scaly, and is brown or cream in hue rather than red or pink. They’re known as “dragon eyes”, and look amazingly cool when you peel the skin off to reveal the inner flesh.
Their gummy-like fruit tastes almost exactly like lychee, only not quite as sweet. If the main reason you love lychees is because of their sweetness, aim for canned longans instead. They’re usually packed in sugary syrup, which amps their beautiful floral flavor exponentially. Go for canned longan if you’re making desserts or sweet drinks like sangria with them.
Related Article: What does a Lychee Taste Like?
Rambutan fruits look like what would happen if you crossed a lychee with a red hedgehog. They’re spiny, spiky, and look like they’ve just arrived from another planet.
Of course, once you crack them open you’ll discover sweet, juicy flesh that tastes like lychee or longan. It’s well worth a bit of effort to cut through the skin! You should be able to find rambutan fruits at an Asian supermarket close to you. If not, you may want to consider a trip overseas just to taste them.
This lychee cousin is even sweeter than the rambutan, but really hard to find outside of Southeast Asia. In fact, you’re unlikely to be able to try it unless you take a vacation to Malaysia or the Philippines.
These fruits also have spiny, leathery skins that are a bit difficult to get through. If you put in a bit of effort, however, you’ll be rewarded with the juicy flesh inside. You can eat it fresh or use it to make juices, jellies, and jams. As an added bonus, you can eat the almond-like seeds when raw as well. Alternatively, roast those seeds and grind them to make a hot drink that tastes like hot chocolate.
Now, if you like lychee texture but are okay with a flavor that’s a bit different, you might want to try a mamoncillo. This is also a member of the soapberry family, but has bittersweet, orange flesh rather than sugary, pale meat. It grows throughout South and Central America, and has been naturalized in some parts of the Caribbean.
Interestingly, the pits of these fruits are also edible. You can roast them and eat them like cashews, or brew them into horchata-like drinks! Some people even grind them into powder to mix into flour as a flavoring.
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You may have come across this purple-skinned fruit at Asian grocery stores before. Its flesh is not quite as jelly-like as a lychee, but is just as soft and fluffy. In fact, the flesh almost seems to melt in your mouth when you eat it.
Flavor-wise, it tastes like a lychee that’s been blended with peach, banana, vanilla, and strawberry. They’re packed with beneficial antioxidants, and aren’t just delicious: they’re anti-inflammatory. If you can’t find the fresh fruit, try looking for it canned instead.
Also known as yang-mei, these are difficult to come by outside of China… at least in their raw form. The fruits are similar in flavor and texture to lychee, only they have a slight tart aftertaste. The flesh is red, and surrounds a single seed, just like longan and rambutan fruits.
You’ll know you’ve found ripe ones when their skins are a deep, burgundy/maroon wine color. If you can’t find them raw, or you live somewhere that doesn’t offer them, see if you can find them canned instead.
As far as fruits like lychee go, the ones mentioned on this list are as close as you’re going to get. They’re similar in both flavor and texture, and are deliciously refreshing.
Not only are these jelly-like fruits delicious—they’re also really good for you! Their high water content keeps you from getting dehydrated, and many of them have healing, pain-relieving, or anti-inflammatory properties that benefit your overall health. Try them raw or canned, on their own, or in fruity drinks and desserts.
However you choose to eat them, have fun! These are basically nature’s gummy snacks, and Mother Nature seems to be encouraging you to play with your food, here. Enjoy!