HELLO, MY NAME IS RAMBUTAN

Photograph by ALEX MORALES

So after work today, I headed to the Vietnamese market in order to pick up some soy sauce for Singapore noodles I was planning on having for dinner. Upon reaching the register, I noticed there were some fuzzy little balls at the counter. The cashier told me that they’re called Rambutan & were priced a little over $5 per pound so I purchased a handful to try out.

What is the Rambutan you ask?

It’s a fruit that’s as common in Asian as the apple is in the states. The term comes from the Malay word “rambut” which means hair.  There are two types, Tuklapin and Supsupin.

This little prickly fruit is a close cousin to the lychee (you can find a lychee martini cocktail here).  The skin is a bit tough so you can gently cut into it with a knife but I pretty much just used my chompers.  As far as taste, I thought it was less sweet than the lychee, found the flesh to be more firm and the flavor overall to be milder.  While I can go to bed at night dreaming & drooling about the lychee… the rambutan for me, was just “aww so”.  Could maybe just have been the batch I had since we can agree that not all harvests are always magical.

So we talked about the rambutan, we drooled over lychee but now my mind goes back to a similar fruit I used to much on while growing up in Haiti called “kenèp”.  You can pretty much find this all over the Caribbean by various names; Jamaica says Guinep, St. Kitts says Skinnip, Trinidad & Tobago says Chenette on & on.  The variations in names makes me think of how language evolves, but that’s a different topic. The kenèp though is more fibrous and the flavor is generally more on the sweet/tart side. Pretend a lychee & a lime got together and made a love child, crown it with the juicy fibrous mane of a mango and there you have it.

Last but certainly not least, the reason that I went to the Vietnamese market on Westgate  & Military to begin with… SOY SAUCE for my SINGAPORE NOODLES!!!  *crowd goes wild*

I fell in love with this soy sauce when I was making Changde Clay Bowl Chicken.  If someone tried telling me the difference between various soy sauces before, I’d probably think they’re nuts.  Not to say that Golden Mountain’s is the shiznit and all (unless they’d like to write me a check), but just taste and comparison of ingredients to other soy sauces… I know that in it’s in a league of its own.  At $1.25 for a 200ml bottle at my Vietnamese market, it’s an amazing buy. Moral of the story, try different soy sauces you may be pleasantly surprised.

Did you know? Singapore noodles are not actually from Singapore but instead conjured up by Hong Kong chefs who thought the name gave their dish an exotic flair.  Either way, yummy yummy yummy I’ve got food in my tummy.

I leave you with a recipe for your own Singapore noodles.  Buh bye sexies.

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  1. June 11th, 2011

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