“Chôm chôm” – an adjective describing a head with raising hair – is the name that Vietnamese people call the Rambutan. It is generally called “rambutan” in English, “ramboutan” in French, “ramboetan” in Dutch or “ramboostan” in Indian. In fact, this name is from a Malay word “rambut” which means “hair”, because the Rambutan is native to Malaysia. Until now, the rambutan is cultivated throughout the Malay Archipelago and Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.
Rambutan - a delicious fruit of Vietnam
The rambutan is a relative of the lychee, except for “hair”. It has also skin, white fleshy nuts and a seed inside. Almost rambutans are sweet and easy to eat. In order to eat it, you can peel it red “hair” skin by a knife, or by your fingers or even by your teeth. But do attention please! Avoid its sweet water gushing out your clothes!
When you put the fleshy nuts in your mouth, you will smell its sweet aroma, sometimes you might meet a bit sour rambutan, but not too important, it is eatable, except for its seed which you do not might choke.
Rambutan - delicious fruit to taste in Vietnam
If you reserve the time to discover Vietnam, you will find out another kind of “chôm chôm” called “chôm chôm nhãn” which is smaller, tastes a little sweeter and has a shorter “hair”.
In your trips in Vietnam from May to September, you can meet rambutan everywhere in the South of Vietnam, from Saigon to Mekong delta, particularly in Vinh Long province. Normally you can buy this delicious fruit in the markets, or you can stop the vendors in the streets with a reasonable price at USD 2 per kilo. However the price can be higher from this month, because New Zealand government just decides to import the rambutan from Vietnam.
About health facts, Rambutan containing a lot of vitamin C is good for skin and hair, helps to lost weight. It also strengthens the immune system, prevents cancer and improves sperm quality!
If you travel to Vietnam from May to September, do not forget to taste the rambutan, especially in the orchards in Cai Be, Vinh Long (Mekong delta), because the rambutan of this region is well known as great.