One of the great things about visiting Vietnam in the summer is all of the fruits that are available to eat.  One of those is the rambutan or “chom chom” in Vietnamese.  The name means “hairy fruit” and you can see why it’s called that:

Rambutan

Rambutan

The skin is soft, as is the hair.  You can peel it with your fingers very easily.  Inside is the flesh of the fruit itself, which is a translucent white.  It looks very much like a large longan.  In fact, there is a variety of ramubtans in Vietnam called “chom chom nhan” which literally translates as longan rambutans.  Here’s what it looks like inside:

Inside a rambutan

Inside a rambutan

The fruit itself is sweet but not overly juicy.  There’s a big single seed inside, the out layer of which will oftentimes stick to the flesh of the fruit as you’re eating it.  If you’ve never had rambutans before, I suggest heading down to your local Asian supermarket and see if they have any fresh ones available.  Some of them in the bigger Asian communities do.  The canned variety in light sugary syrup does not do the fruit justice.