How to eat a rambutan (ngor).
13.08.2011 90 °F
This morning I am really lazy. It is early Saturday (07.00) and the beach is empty. The Dusit Thani gardeners and swimming pool doctors are busy under my balcony preparing for a sunny day with lots of guests enjoying the pool and gardens.
When I mention the gardeners at Dusit Thani Pattaya I am not talking about amateurs. The gardens at this resort are amazing. I think the head gardener's mother worked on a golf driving range when he was in utero. Every shrub or tree has been topiary-ed to look like a fancily-clipped French poodle. I can't help but think of my good friend, Dave Sheren, back stateside, who must have trained under the same prunemeister. Dave has always tried to convince me that shrubs should be perfectly round or perfectly square. Dave, you would swoon strolling around this place.
I am treating myself to a scrumptious breakfast on my balcony. Rambutans!! If rambutans are not my favorite fruit palate-wise they are certainly my favorite fruit visually. So elegant. They look like they were designed by Philippe Starck -- a bold red with one hundred + green/yellow spines covering a golfball-sized orb. (I know, lots of golfball references this morning.)
Rambutans have a slightly sinister beauty like a rose -- gorgeous but suspiciously evil with those threatening thorns. The spines on the rambutan are all show and no problem. The only caution I have learned is that the fragrant sweet fruit is loved by all animals not just homo sapiens. So the growers use pesticides to discourage rambutan-rustling. You simply wash your hands after handling the husks.
Actually they are similar to a lychee but their wild, spiny, husk might make you think it is a lychee on drugs. They are grown right here in southern Thailand and their peak season is NOW! I am able to find a kilo + for 20 baht (around .80 USD).
I am trying to perfect a husking technique where you simply twist quickly so that the shell/husk breaks at the "equator". I find that slitting around the equator with the foil cutter on a corkscrew guarantees a tidy outcome. And, there you have it -- a glistening, satin-like, white, fleshy and very flavorful meat with an obvious stone that is easy to spit over the balcony. However, I am sure that Dusit management would prefer I use the trash can.
Now and again we will find rambutans in our Vietnamese grocery back in Detroit at a precious price. I am enjoying my gluttony this morning.