Fruits of Viet Nam: Rambutan (Chôm chôm)

The Rambutan is also unofficially known as Hairy Cherry because of the soft, fleshy hair-like projections around its covering which appears green or yellow, and turns red as the fruit ripens. Such name is derived from a Malaysian word ‘rambut’, meaning hair, of where the fruit originally grows. Well-cultivated in Vietnam after the fruit was introduced in the country, Rambutan now grows abundantly in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta area.

Its fruit measures about 3-4 cm in diameter and breaking open the hairy outer peel exposes a white to translucent flesh that is firm and sweet, surrounding a hard seed beneath. With a hint of acidity to it, its taste is described as grape-like and is very refreshing.

The Rambutan trees could grow as high as 20 m, with broad foliage and has numerous branches. It bears fruits around May, which is the beginning of the rainy season, and lasts when the season ends around October of every year. The fruits grow in large bunches, and with its attractive color and appearance, these fruit-bearing trees could be eye-catching just as how fruit stands along the roads and intersections come alive during Rambutan season when they are filled with the tiny bright red fruits. The most famous Rambutan fruits grow in Binh Hoa Phuoc Village (Long Ho District, Vinh Long Province).