What Does Rambutan Taste Like?

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In this article, we’re answering your questions about rambutan. We’ll tell you all about the taste and texture, how to eat it and a few other tips for using it in your recipes.


Let’s dive right in…

What Does Rambutan Taste Like? 

Hailing from Southeast Asia, rambutan is said to have a distinctly tropical flavor. Rambutans are often compared to lychees because they look similar, but they’re not the same in taste.

The rambutan combines sweet and sour flavors with a fragrant, flowery element. In contrast, lychee is usually sweeter with a more up-front floral taste.

Rambutan Texture 

The outer shell of the rambutan is covered in long “hairs.” Don’t worry, they won’t bother you—this is not the part you’re eating. The good stuff is inside.

The meat of the fruit is soft, creamy and a little chewy. This is another characteristic that separates it from the lychee as lychees are more gelatinous and juicy.

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Can You Eat the Seeds of Rambutan? 

This question has a somewhat complicated answer. First, it’s important to know that most sources agree that the seeds are toxic. What people disagree on is whether the toxicity is rendered neutral by cooking.

There are cultural traditions of eating the seeds in roasted form with seemingly no adverse effects. However, we would urge you to exercise caution and do your own investigating as even roasted seeds may not be the safest choice. 

Is Rambutan a Fruit? 

When you first see a rambutan, you might think of a cute, spiny sea creature. It is, in fact, a fruit that grows on the rambutan tree and is related to the lychee (which would account for the similarities between these fruits).

As with most fruits, we’d suggest eating rambutan fresh before you do anything else with it to appreciate its flavors, but like many fruits, it’s easy to convert to jams and desserts.

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Rambutan Serving Tips 

After you’ve savored a fresh rambutan, you can use it in a variety of vegan recipes, including smoothies and fruit compotes. 

Here’s a green smoothie recipe with the lovely tropical essence of rambutan. In this video, you’ll see spirulina, chlorella and protein powder used, which you can add if you like, but they’re not necessary. If you do use protein powder, make sure it’s vegan first.

These are your basic ingredients:

  • Kale
  • Rambutan
  • Pear
  • Frozen banana
  • Lime
  • Coconut water
  • Flaxseed

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This is a recipe for a cooling Thai dessert for hot summer days. It’s a rambutan compote served over melting ice, light and fragrant with sweet and herbal jasmine flavoring.

Here’s what you need:

  • Rambutan 
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Jasmine flower extract
  • Ice cubes

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Wrap Up 

The “hairy” rambutan is a creamy, juicy, sweet and sour fruit that’s refreshing in the summer months. Steer clear of the seeds and blend it into your smoothies, make jam with it or try some of the delicious vegan sweets made with this delicate fruit. 

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