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Webster 1913 doesn't do justice to the description of the (fruit) rambutan. The rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is a tropical medium to large sized tree indigenous to South East Asia with a fruit of the same name.

During the fruit season for the rambutan, bunches of bright red, hairy rambutans can be seen hanging from this tree. This is associated with roadside stalls displaying large heaps of these fruits for sale.

The fruit itself has a outer skin that should be peeled or cut open to reveal the white flesh enclosing a solitary seed.

Guide to eating a rambutan (for the unintiated)

To eat a rambutan, make a shallow cut just deep enough to cut through the skin about halfway across the fruit (purists will contend that a thumbnail is sufficient). Then peel the two halves apart and, holding one end of the fruit in your hand, bite the inner flesh, taking it into your mouth. To enjoy a rambutan, take care not to bite into the seed in the centre as it is slightly bitter. Instead, carefully bite at the flesh, chewing carefully with small bites until there is only the seed left, which you may then remove from your mouth (in whatever way you feel is socially right).

If you wish, you could instead prepare rambutans by cutting and peeling them open, discarding the skin and leaving the fleshy interior displayed on a plate for guests to pick at. This method, however, takes much away from the traditional setting where a big bunch of rambutans are placed in the centre of the table at the end of a meal and where every person builds up a pile of rambutan skins on their plates as they eat this delicious fruit.

Rambutans taste even better slightly chilled. Take care not to freeze them though.

Rambutan trees will grow in tropical conditions and have been grown in Northern Australia and in Hawaii.

Ram*bu"tan (?), n. [Malay ramb&umac;tan, fr. rambut hair of the head.] Bot.

A Malayan fruit produced by the tree Nephelium lappaceum, and closely related to the litchi nut. It is bright red, oval in shape, covered with coarse hairs (whence the name), and contains a pleasant acid pulp. Called also ramboostan.


© Webster 1913.

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