What Does Rambutan Taste Like & How To Eat This Fruit – Detailed Variety Tables


Rambutan Taste
Rambutan Taste

To make sure you understand the correct taste of Rambutan, you will need to know what variety you have, as there are numerous varieties. According to Whitehead[1] and his extensive studies, there were 144 varieties in a pre-World War II collection that was lost. Today, there are 11 important varieties, which we will discuss the taste of and description of each one and a few more, but these are only a few of the many available. First, we will give you a general taste then go into more depth with each individual variety.

Rambutan tastes sweet. The taste can range from very sweet as in the Lengkeng and Maharlika varieties to subacid and acidic (sour) as in the case of Tau Po Cheng and Bara varieties. Most Rambutan varieties have a juicy, firm, white grapelike texture.

When you read that Rambutan has a grape taste then this is only one variety. For example, the Maharlika variety common in the Philippines has a very sweet taste. Whereas it has been noted that some varieties are so acidic such as the Bara variety that they are sour.

There are two different coloured skins of Rambutan varieties. There are yellow skin and red or crimson skin varieties. See Figure 1 below for the different rind colours available resulting in different tastes.

Rind Colour of Rambutan
Fig1. Rind Colour of Rambutan[4]

To help you understand the variety of tastes and appearance of Rambutan we have put together tables below of the main varieties with there tastes and characteristics.[2] [3]

If you are wanting to keep your Rambutan fresh longer than a few days, as Rambutan tends to spoil very quickly due to the sugars, then please read our article: Can You Freeze or Do You Refrigerate Rambutan?

Table 1.[2]—Important Rambutan varieties along with their sources and individual characteristics (Please note: Aril is the flesh around the seed)

Variety SourceFruit characteristicsTaste
AtjehIndonesiaMedium spines, the taste is sweet and juicySweet
Atjeh hurungRed colour skin with long spines, the taste is subacid and juicySub acid
Atjeh kuningYellow colour skin with a sweet and rather juicy tasteSweet
Ayes MasMalaysiaYellow colour skin with a medium aril and sweet tasteSweet
AzimalYellow to crimson colour skin with a thick aril and a sweet to subacid tasteSweet to Subacid
BaraCrimson colour skin with a medium aril and acidic tasteAcidic
BingjaiIndonesiaGreen skin colour with long spines and a ellipsoidal shape. A sweet tasteSweet
ChompuThailandPink to light red skin colour with a medium-size fruit. The fruit is fair quality and sweetSweet
Chooi AngMalaysiaPink to red colour skin with a thick aril and subacid tasteSub acid
GelongIndonesiaHas a globe type shape with long spines and a subacid juicy tasteSub acid
GendutGreen skin colour with medium spines and an ellipsoidal shape with a sweet tasteSweet
GulabatuGreenish-yellow skin colour with long spines and a globe shape
KelipMalaysiaCrimson colour skin with a medium aril and sweetish tasteSweetish
Kepala BesarYellow to crimson colour with medium aril and sweet tasteSweet
Kering manisIndonesiaGreen colour skin with an almost globe shape and long spines
Lebak bulusSubacid and juicy tasteSub acid
LengkengGreen or yellow colour skin with a globe shape and very short spines. the taste is very sweetVery Sweet
MaharlikaDark red skin colour. The fruit is rather small but very sweet with a melting aril and excellent qualityVery Sweet
PenangThailandLarge size fruit with fair quality. Due to the size, the fruit tends to have two seeds. A sweet-tasting fruitSweet
Peng Th’ng BeeMalaysiaCrimson colour skin with a medium aril and sweet tasteSweet
Pd. bulanIndonesiaMedium spines with a globe shape
RapiahGreen or yellow colour skin with a very sweet taste and small sizeVery Sweet
RongrienThailandMedium to large size with fair quality and a crispy sweet arilSweet
SeematjanIndonesiaLight red to orange skin colour with a medium-sized fruit and a sweet tasteSweet
SeenjonjaDark red colour skin with a small to medium size and fair quality with a sweet tasteSweet
SingapuraMalaysiaLight orange to scarlet skin colour with a thin aril and sweetish tasteSweetish
Sitang-kueIndonesiaEllipsoidal in shape with medium spines and a sweet tasteSweet
Tau Po ChengMalaysiaOrange-scarlet skin colour with a thick aril and a subacid tasteSub acid
TriangDark red skin colour with a thick aril and a sweetish tasteSweetish
Ya TowScarlet skin colour with a thick aril and subacid tasteSub acid

Unfortunately, there are so many other varieties of Rambutan due to the same common name being used for several varieties or the same variety of Rambutan being known by a few different names.

Table 2.[3] – Other more common names of Rambutan along with there taste and characteristics.

VarietyFruit CharacteristicsTaste
Queen ZaidaDark-red skin colour with an oblong shape and a medium-size. The flesh is thick (38.76% of the fruit), with a sweet, and juicy tasteSweet
Baby EulieLight-red skin colour with a very large thick flesh (39.92% of fruit) this fruit has a soft texture.
Princess CarolineDark-red skin with a small size and pliable rind. The flesh is thick (44.14% of fruit) and the seeds are small.
QuezonYellowish- red skin colour with a small to medium size and pliable rind. The flesh is thick (38.24% of fruit) with a sweet, slightly acid, juicy taste.Sweet, Slightly Acid
Roxas Dark-red skin colour and medium-sized. The flesh is thick (42.97% of fruit). The taste is juicy and sweet, with the flesh adhering to the seed.Sweet
ZamoraYellowish coloured skin with pale-pink spines. The shape of the fruit is oblong and small with a hard rind. The flesh is thick (38.29% of fruit) and juicy and sweet. Sweet
QuirinoYellowish skin colour with pinkish-red spines. the fruit is a small size with a thick (32.78 % of fruit). the taste is juicy and sweet.Sweet
MagsaysayDark-red to black skin colour with dark-red spines. The shape of the fruit is oblong and large with a thick flesh (42.68% of fruit). The taste is juicy and sweetSweet
Santo TomasYellowish-pink skin colour with reddish-pink colured soft spines. The shape is nearly round and the flesh thick (43.25% of fruit) with a small seed
VictoriaYellowish colour skin with red spines. The flesh is thick, juicy and sweet.Sweet
Baby ChristieYellowish-red skin colour with silvery-pink spines. The fruit is large and flesh thick (36.41% of fruit).
Governor InfantadaThe fruit is oblong and very large with a flesh that is thick (39.28% of fruit). The taste is juicy, sweet and slightly acidSweet, Slightly acidic
Laurel, Sr.The colour of the skin is pinkish-red with a small fruit that has a thick flesh (39.76% of fruit).
Fortich The colour of the skin is Yellowish-red and the fruit size is medium-sized. The taste of the fruit is juicy and sweetSweet
Osmeña, Sr.The skin colour is Purple-red. The taste is juicy and sweet. Sweet
Ponderosa Ferreras The colour is a Crimson red along with prominent spines. The size is very large with thick flesh (35.73% of fruit) The taste is juicy and sweet.Sweet

How To Eat Rambutan

How To Eat Rambutan
How To Eat Rambutan

After making a cut into the skin with your fingernail (if you find it too hard use a knife to make a small incision), use your fingers to pull apart the skin.

This will expose one half of the fruit as one half sits in the remaining skin. Simply squeeze the skin that has the Rambutan sitting in it, and the fruit should slide out. Be careful to have something to catch the fruit as it is slippery and can easily fly out due to the juiciness.

Once out you can either cut into the fruit and remove the seed, then place the fruit into your mouth and eat, or just place the fruit and seed into your mouth, being careful not to eat or swallow the seed.

If you are interested in finding out if the seed is edible and how to safely prepare them then please check out our article: Are Rambutan Seeds Edible?

Just spit out the seed when you have eaten all of the flesh from around it.

References:

[1] Whitehead. C. 1959. The rambutan, a description of the characteristics and potential of the more important varieties. Malay. Agric. J. 42: 53-75.
[2] Cultivation of neglected tropical fruits with promise. The rambutan
[3] Morton, J. 1987. Rambutan. p. 262–265. In: Fruits of warm climates
[4] Phenophases of rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum L.)

Juan Paul

We are Juan & Raquel, the guys behind Fruit Information. We've been interested in fruit over the last few decades and have been busy with improving our knowledge of the different varieties. I, Juan, have been almost a fruitarian for over a decade and almost solely living on fruits as my main dietary intake. My wife Raquel has worked on a fruit farm and also worked in a nursery and seedlings shop. She is a very experienced and knowledgable farmer. We have recently undertaken a new Dragon Fruit farm with friends.

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