Monday, July 19, 2010

Ah, Mamon Chino (aka Rambutan)

On the bus from Panama City to David we stopped at one point and some kids boarded the bus selling fruit, vegetables, and ice cream cones. The people across the isle from Michelle bought a strange looking fruit that they peeled and started eating. When they pulled them out of the bag we were like, what in the world is that and why would you want to eat it!

We have since found out that it is called Mamon Chino here in Panama. Apparently it is an Asian fruit called Rambutan in southeast Asia. Rambutan literally means hairy fruit, because of the hairy spikes on the fruit. They are not hard spikes so they don't poke you or anything but it still makes you pause before buying them.

Everyone said that they were really good so we decided to buy them at one of the little fresh fruit stands in town. The place we bought them sold them in bunches still attached to the sticks, I have found out since then this is the best way to buy them because it preserves them and the flavor better than if they are picked off the branches.

You peel off the outside and then you find a very pale almost white fleshy fruit on the inside. They peel like a mandarin orange, really easily and very cleanly from the fruit on the inside. The fruit almost tastes like a peeled white grape and is very soft. Inside the fruit is a large seed that looks almost exactly like an almond. The seed has a very bitter taste, Michelle didn't want to eat any but I sometimes eat the seeds after finishing the fruit. Don't eat the fruit and seed at the same time as this makes the fruit bitter since it has a very light taste on its own.

Rumor has it that the US has approved Mamon Chinos (Rambutan) for import and sell in the near future. We really enjoy them even if they do look strange at first.

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