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Rambutan-The sweet juicy Southeast Asian fruit The rambutan, aahh..

The delicious and marvelous fruit anyone will love the first time they ever taste it. Wait, let me introduce this fruit to you first. The rambutan is a native fruit to Indonesia and Malaysia. This yellowish-red fruits grow in clusters on evergreen trees. They have hair-like structures protruding out of their skin and a seed which is actually quite big. The word rambutan means hairy in both the Malay and Indonesian language. The first time I ever tasted a rambutan, it was when I was 4 years old, I was in the market and spotted these repulsive hairy balls. My first response was yuck! My mother smiled and advised me, Dont judge a book by its cover. I tried it and it tasted wonderful. Who knew this hairy-looking balls actually contain exotic wonders! I can get this fruit in any part of Malaysia. The rambutan is not a seasonal fruit, but the peak season is between May to September. A kilogram (2.2 pounds) of this fruit will be RM 3.50 (US$ 1.14 currently) at the fruit stall in the market. Sometimes, when I go to the outskirts of the city, I buy the rambutan directly from the fruit orchards. The rambutans at the fruit orchard usually cost about RM 1.80 (US$ 0.59 currently) per kilogram. I usually buy 5 kilograms of rambutans, which will last for at least 3 days, for my entire family of 4. When buying rambutans, I look for the ones with bright red skin. A little orange or yellow on the skin in addition to red is okay, but green skins mean the rambutans are unripe. Don't buy rambutans that have turned black or have a lot of black "hairs", as this indicates they are over-ripe. The rambutans I usually buy have a lot of ants on it, so I dip all the rambutans in water for some time, then take it out and wash it under some tap water, make sure there are no ants sticking on it, then it is ready to be eaten. To open a rambutan, make a cut through the skin with a sharp knife. If your rambutans are very ripe, they can also be twisted open between your hands, and the fruit simply pops out. When I eat the fruit, I eat it slowly so that the hard, unpleasant coating on the seed will not come together with the flesh. When you first bite into the rambutan, you can taste the extremely sweet juice slowly flowing into your mouth, the juice is really sweet but not cloying. After all the sweet juice is gone, the deeper part of the fruit will give you a slightly sour taste. The rambutan does not have much flesh, but the little flesh it has is enough to satisfy you. Lately, I even realized that foreigners from different countries stop at fruit stalls in Kuala Lumpur to buy rambutans. This is a prominent sign that rambutans are wellknown among foreigners and this also shows many have found the goodness of rambutans. In fact, foreigners purchase rambutans in bulks and I wonder how they manage to finish them.

Now, lets take a glance at the boring nutrition values of rambutans (you can skip it if you want). First, it is a good source of vitamin C , which tends to make the fruit a potent resource of antioxidant Second, rambutan fruit also contains other vitamins such
as niacin(vitamin B9), thiamin(vitamin B6), and riboflavin(vitamin B2). Third, the minerals contained in the rambutan are a lot of potassium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Fourth, fiber content of rambutan is also quite high. Fifth, the combination of sugars( glucose ,

fructose and sucrose ) and acids(malic acid and citric acid) is exactly what causes the rambutan to have a fresh sweet taste. Any products made using rambutans are delicious delicacies because I can never comment on them. They are just 100% superb. I have enjoyed the goodness of rambutans by drinking rambutan juice, smoothies, energy drinks and ice-creams. I have also seen rambutans jams, jellies and canned rambutans available in the market in Malaysia. Anyone who has not tasted this fruit before should and must give it a try.

Done by: Pawayee Palanisamy (Malaysia) 11/2/2013