Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Love

Yesterday was my lucky day, when I was given free and clear a small box of a fruit that some of you may have never heard of: Rambutan.

The rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae, and the fruit of this tree shares the same name. It is native to Indonesia, The Philippines, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, VietNam (where it's called Chôm Chôm) and other countries in Southeast Asia. Rambutan is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the Lychee, Longan, and Mamoncillo. It is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago, from where it spread westwards to Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and India; eastwards to Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia. The name rambutan is from the Indonesian word rambutan, which literally means hairy as seen by the long tentacles that cover this fruit.

My instinct was right. It told me to only get a handful and share the rest with others. This is the handful, and here's the verdict: this is a weird fruit! I remember distinctively I used to like this fruit when I was a toddler (just a few years ago...) in VietNam. In fact, many adults of oriental origins love this fruit. Not me! Not now! The last time I had a taste of this fruit was about 13 years ago. I didn't like it then, and I like it even less now.

There are two kinds of rambutan that I can remember, and they are different in the way the edible pulp easily separates from, or gets stuck to the seed. No one I know likes the kind that the pulp clings with dear life to its seed. Yuk! This bunch is the "better" kind. The seed easily separates by shedding its skin that becomes part of the pulp then both get to be eaten. I opened three and ate one. How would I describe my feeling now? Big yuk! No taste, no flavor... just like eating some amorphous soft rubber. It's safe to say I did not touch the rest of them.

The morale of this experience is this: Either your taste changes with time, or the memory you have of distant past is severely distorted. If you have nostalgia remembering your first love... beware if you see him or her again now!
Chôm Chôm

No comments: