Lychee originated in southern China 1,000 years ago, but I didn’t eat it regularly until we were living in Hawaii.
The rind of the Lychee ranges in tones from pink to red. The first time I bought Lychee, I had no idea how to open the rind to get to the juicy fruit inside. Do I cut it in half like an onion? Do I use a vegetable peeler like a potato? No, just puncture the skin with your thumbnail like a clementine and peel it. So easy.
The flavor of the Lychee is sweet like a pear with a floral hints like rosewater. Enjoy them while they’re fresh, but they shouldn’t be eaten unripe and children shouldn’t eat a lot of Lychee due to a toxin in the seed that can also be present in the fruit.
Lychee fruit is harvested in the summer. If you live in a place where Lychee is grown, like Florida and Hawaii, you’ll probably find the fruit in your local market. Otherwise, look in an Asian market. Sometimes you might find canned Lychee, but that’s nothing compared to the fresh fruit. Lychee can be used in fruit salads or smoothies, but my favorite way to enjoy Lychee fruit is to peel it, pop it in my mouth and spit out the seed.
Brent Petersen is the Editor in Chief at Destination Eat Drink, the travel website and podcast for foodies. A former resident of Hawaii, Brent has written several foodie travel guides to The Aloha State. He has also written the novel Truffle Hunt (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection That Bird.
Originally published at https://destinationeatdrink.com on February 15, 2021.