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Rambutan fruit: the taste, seasonality, calories, and tree

Have you ever seen a rambutan fruit? If this is your first time seeing this red and green hair ball then we strongly urge you to give rambutan a try. Because this fruit deserves that much love. Yes you read that right.

Rambutan is a tropical fruit commonly found in Thailand. Fresh rambutan tastes sweet and very refreshing. Warn you, it can be addictive especially if you store peeled rambutan in the fridge and eat them on a hot day. Sometimes we just wonder how 1-2 kg(s) of freshly purchased rambutans would just disappear within 1 day. 

Learn more about rambutan fruit, its taste, season and calories within this post. 

Table of Contents

What does rambutan taste like?

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Some of you may be wondering – what does rambutan taste like? Given the slight physical resemblance, some people may think that rambutan fruit would taste like lychee (a more commonly found fruit outside of tropical areas). While there are some similarities, this is not quite true.

Rambutan is characterized by its red skin covered with “hairs”, which are mostly green and red in color. Rambutan taste is quite distinct and refreshing, it has a sweet taste with a hint of sourness. The fruit has a soft, but firm texture. Within those firm white-ish meat, there is a seed which shouldn’t be consumed!

Eating a rambutan is easy – much easier compared to its peers like durian and mangosteen. First, you need to peel off its red skin either by cutting it open with a knife or using your fingernail to make a cut and peel the skin open. We would suggest you use a knife because it’s easier and some might find the rambutan skin a bit thick for their nails. 

Note that rambutans are not to be confused with lychees! (Read more about rambutan vs lychee)

The tree: getting to know rambutan trees

Rambutan trees can grow as tall as 15 meters, however rambutan trees commonly found in farms are about 4 to 8 meters for ease of care/harvest. It usually takes 3-4 years after planting before a rambutan tree would produce rambutan fruits. The tree produces fruits annually and the volume would peak at around the 10th year onward. Once a rambutan tree starts to flower, rambutan fruits would be ready for harvest within 3-4 months.

Rambutan season: when is it most abundant?

Rambutan is one of Thailand’s seasonal fruits and is only available in the summer/rainy season (end of April – September). If you are a rambutan fan or would like to try rambutan while in Thailand, your best bet would be between May and August. During this period, rambutan fruits would be most abundant in the market. 

Outside of summer and rainy seasons, your option would be limited to processed or preserved rambutan (even in Thailand). The most commercialized preserved rambutan fruit is the canned rambutan and you can find it in supermarkets both inside and outside of Thailand.

Canned rambutan fruits can commonly be found in supermarket. For example we used to have Malee’s canned rambutan when we were young. We still love fresh rambutans the most!

Rambutan calories: how many calories does rambutan have?

Once you have tried a rambutan fruit, you will understand that one rambutan is never enough – one rambutan will simply lead to another. Therefore, it is important to understand rambutan calories!

According to an article by Maejo University in Thailand, 100g (roughly 4-6 rambutans) of Rambutan contains 65 kilocalories (kcals). So when the two of us finished 1 kg of rambutans, we consumed about 300 kcals each (this is equivalent to having a McDonald’s sundae).

Knowing this information, you should be careful not to eat too much rambutan. Even though it is a fruit, moderation is still key because the fruit is sweet and contains high sugar. Also, for those with high blood sugar conditions, you should be extra careful not to consume too much rambutan!

Rambutan: to try or not to try?

Rambutan tastes amazing (you can tell how much we love rambutans!). We wish we could enjoy the rambutan fruit all-year-round but rambutan is a seasonal fruit. So when rambutan is the most abundant in the market (and normally is also the cheapest), go and buy rambutan. 

If you have never tried rambutans, we highly recommend that you give this fruit a try. This is a typical Southeast Asian tropical fruit and when you travel across Southeast Asia, go try their rambutan. You might see slight differences between Thai vs Malaysian vs Indonesian rambutan too! 

Go check out our other posts on Thailand