Rambutan | Exotic Tropical Fruits You Must Try & 6 Benefits

The Rambutan is an exotic tropical hairy red fruit native to Southeast Asia. It is similar in texture and taste to several other edible tropical fruits such as lychee, longan, pulasan and guinep.

The fruit is mainly found in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. Thailand is the largest producer of Rambutan.

In Sri Lanka, the fruit season starts in May and lasts until the end of August. If you are in Sri Lanka during these months, you will definitely be able to see an abundance of it.

This exotic tropical fruit looks like a Sea Urchin but not really….its skin is covered in fluffy soft hair which makes it look like a sort of toy and not something you will associate with food.

Red and spiky fruit of a tree 2022 04 14 19 00 24 utc

It comes in two colours orange-red and yellow and both varieties are delicious…

Rambutan | exotic tropical fruits growing in sri lanka

The fruits are very easy to peel, press with your thumb gently and give it a squeeze and it will pop and then pull apart the leathery skin.

Did you know that candles and soap can be made from seed oil extracted from Rambutan?

This amazing and exotic tropical fruit tends to be expensive when imported. This is because of the short shelf-life and because they can only ripen on the tree. Unfortunately, almost all canned versions contain a lot of added sugar making them extremely unhealthy.

Health benefits of Rambutan

Here are some of the health benefits

Supports the immune system

Research suggests that the hairy fruit helps fight infections by inhibiting viral replication.

Promotes weight loss

This fruit contains a lot of water and fibre. Studies show that fibre intake can help in weight loss. 

Helps in making the digestive system more resilient because of dietary fibre

The fibre content can also help nourish the good bacteria in the gut. Studies show that soluble fibre feeds healthy microorganisms in the stomach.

Keeps you hydrated

This exotic tropical fruit can keep you hydrated due to its water content.

Lowers the risks of cancer

This red and hairy fruit are high in antioxidants which can reduce cellular damage.  Studies show that chemicals in the seeds can potentially cure many diseases.

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Health benefits
Rambutan stall in sri lanka
Roadside fruit stall in sri lanka

Non-scientific studies

Non scientific studies suggest that this exotic tropical fruit can have a positive impact on bone health, kidney stones, and heart health.

Your questions about Rambutan

What does rambutan taste like?

Malaysian rambutan

It is similar in texture and taste to several other edible tropical fruits such as lychee, longan, pulasan and guinep.

Does rambutan taste like lychee?

Yes, the flesh of the fruit is slightly harder and meatier. Rambutan has a richer and creamier taste. Lychee is more delicate.

Where can I find rambutan?

This exotic tropical fruit is mainly found in Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines. The fruit is also found in Vietnam, Mexico, the Caribbean islands, Costa Rica, Honduras and Panama.

Are there risks when eating rambutan?

The exotic tropical fruit naturally contains a lot of sugar. So if you have diabetes, then you need to limit your intake.
In Sri Lanka, eating a hundred rambutans in one sitting is quite normal.
The seed is known to be toxic, particularly if you swallow the seed after chewing.

What happens if you swallow a rambutan seed?

You could choke on it.
The seed is known to be toxic (many seeds are if you consume in large quantities), especially if you swallow the seed after chewing.
I swallowed a seed by accident and I know many people who have done the same. There is a small risk but don’t panic.

Sources & Resources

Health Benefits of Rambutan – Web Md




Rambutan: A Tasty Fruit With Health Benefits – Health Line


Antimicrobial activity of Litchi chinensis and Nephelium lappaceum aqueous seed extracts against some pathogenic bacterial strains – Science Direct


A trypsin inhibitor from rambutan seeds with antitumor, anti-HIV-1 reverse transcriptase, and nitric oxide-inducing properties – National Library of Medicine


The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre – National Library of Medicine


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About the Author

<a href="https://strongwithplants.com/author/inga/" target="_self">Inga K</a>

Inga K

Inga became vegan in March 2018. After a series of documentaries that hit hard, she and her husband switched to a plant-based diet within a week and vegan soon after.Inga has a UK Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Diet and Nutrition.

Strongwithplants.com is a blog for anyone who strives for a healthy and happy life. We share 100% plant-based (and often healthy and oil-free) recipes and give you the best tips on finding vegan local food whilst travelling and living a plant-based lifestyle focusing on good health and spiritual wellbeing.

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Each individual’s dietary needs are unique. Please seek advice from a professional nutritionist or your doctor.

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