Rambutan is a fruit native to Southeast Asia. However, thankfully someone brought these plants to Sri Lanka, and we get to eat them every year. Uniquely, during the rambutan season, we see it being sold by the side of the road. Gosh! this is when we know the Rambutan season has dawned in Sri Lanka. In contrast, you can now buy online rambutan to give your taste buds a juicy treat. Then again, this is possible by staying in the comfort of your home.  

Since you can now shop for online rambutan, check out few facts about this super sweet fruit.

  • Rambutan got its name from the Malay word for ‘hair’. Incidentally, this is because the golf-ball-sized fruit has a hairy red and green shell.
  • The unmistakable appearance of rambutan is often compared to that of a sea urchin.
  • In Vietnam, rambutan is called chôm chôm (meaning ‘messy hair’).
  • The fruit is widely cultivated in Southeast Asia in areas, such as Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka. Likewise, it is one of the best-known fruits of Southeast Asia
  • As of 2014, Thailand was the largest producer of rambutans growing 450,000 tonnes.
  • The fruits are usually sold fresh and have a short shelf-life, and are commonly used in making jams and jellies, or canned fruit.
  • Evergreen rambutan trees with their abundant coloured fruit make attractive landscape specimens.
  • In Thailand, rambutan trees were first planted in Surat Thani in 1926.
  • There’s an annual rambutan fair held during the August harvest season in Thailand.

Where is Rambutan grown in Sri Lanka?

Rambutan cultivation in Sri Lanka mainly consists of small home gardens. While, Malwana, a village on the banks of the Kelani River Valley, is popular for its rambutan orchards. Their production comes to market in May, June, and July each year. In particular, street sales of rambutan were first introduced along the Kandy-Colombo road, close to Nittambuwa. Those days both sides of the road were crowded with temporary rambutan stalls. In fact,  these temporary street stalls have expanded to nearly all of the main streets in Colombo in the present day. In particular, Havelock Road and Alexandra Place, are popular spots where rambutan can be purchased.

Rambutan street stall Colombo

Further, rambutan is also grown in Bibile, Medagama and Monaragala. Here, these fruits become edible during January and February each year. Apart from the roadside vendors, you can purchase rambutan from most fruit markets during the season. By all means, you can also buy online rambutan from kapruka.com as well. Notably, you can pay by debit or credit card and easily get the rambutan delivered to your address. Additionally, you can also gift online rambutan to a friend or a loved one thanks to Kapruka.   

Online rambutan from Kapruka

Want to know more facts about Rambutan in Sri Lanka?

Rambutan is not originally native to Sri Lanka. It is believed these fruit plants were brought over to Sri Lanka by the Portuguese from Malaysia. In any case, mixed with the Sri Lankan soil, the seeds of rambutan have acquired the distinctive yet astonishing taste. Uniquely, rambutan sticks in clusters with around 10 to 20 fruits per cluster. Especially, the fruit is typically red, though some are yellow or orange. Explicitly, numerous pliable thorns cover its leather-like skin. The fruit’s flesh is juicy and soft. Its translucent white flesh has a sweet yet creamy taste and contains a seed in its middle. They say the raw rambutan seeds are poisonous, but these consequences disappear after cooking.

Rambutan plantations

Significantly, rambutan contains a plethora of vitamins such as A, B, and C.  Further, rambutan is also known to be low in fat and include the natural sugars fructose and sucrose. A variety of gastronomical culinary wonders can be made from rambutan. Why not try the rambutan curry or rambutan mojito. However, I am not sure if these are available in Sri Lanka. For one thing, if you happen to be in Malwana, try the Malwana Special – a local kind of rambutan with a bright red outer shell. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed

Types of rambutan available in Sri Lanka.

There are three types of Rambutan fruits in Sri Lanka. One is red and the other is yellowish-orange with a hint of red colour. These two varieties differ in taste as well as price in the local markets of Sri Lanka. I love the red one. It is sweet when comparing to the yellowish-orange one which is a bit sour.  Also in Sri Lanka, you can find the Malaysian yellow variety. It is also sweet and jelly can be easily detached from the seed. But the demand is low for the yellow because the red outer covering of the ‘Malwana Special’ has more appeal and people are naturally drawn towards it.

Rambutan Buying Tips

During the season, rambutan can be purchased in many markets spread across Sri Lanka. To begin with, you have to search for them in the fruit section. Also, you can now find them in leading supermarkets. Unfortunately, to me, these don’t appear fresh. In the meantime, you can also buy online rambutan at Kapruka. When buying rambutans, look for bright red skin. A little orange or yellow on the skins in addition to red is okay. Meanwhile, green skins mean the rambutans are unripe. Also, don’t buy rambutans that have turned black or have lots of black ‘hairs’. This indicates they are over-ripe.

How to store rambutan.

Honestly, this doesn’t apply to me as when I buy a bunch of rambutans, they all disappear in double-quick time. To begin with, forget about storing. However, to store your fresh rambutans, wrap them in a paper towel and put them in a perforated plastic bag. Then store them in the refrigerator. Please don’t put them, in the freezer. Also, don’t peel them until just before you are going to serve them.