Adventures in Weird Food

Ahhh food.  One of my most favorite things.  The best thing about living in Decatur is the extremely close proximity to the Your Dekalb Farmer’s Market.  My Farmer’s Market… who knew I actually had one?  Most folks in the Atlanta metro area have heard of it, many have visited, quite a few on this side of town go on a weekly basis, if not every few days like I do.  It is the perfect market to get your fresh veggies and fruits, an incredible supply of meat, poultry, dairy, cheeses, breads, coffees and sundries.  The breads are made there, and the coffee is actually roasted onsite!!!  For a coffee snob like me, that’s HUGE, as there are few roasters here in Atlanta.
But that’s not what I”m writing about fair reader.  No, I’m writing today about the crazy ass fruits this place regularly has.  There’s a large ethnic contingency that shops at YDFM… in fact there’s a large ethnic group of people that work there.  I’m actually not sure there’s a white person that works the floor – perhaps behind the scene, but I’ve yet to see a single one.  So fruits from all over the world make it to the market, and until today I’ve been a bit too cautious to branch out.  So, what changed it?  A rambutan (rahm-byoo-tahn according to the sign next to the crates).  This crazy little fruit caught my eyes with it’s weird hairy/spiney body and vibrant red color.  Upon searching the innerwebs, rambut is Malay for hair… go figure!

Rambutan

Rambutan fruit

There was a sign even to explain what it was, how it was pronounced (see above), what kinda nutritional value it has, and how to open and eat it.  I figured as small as it was, how big a loss would it be from my pocket to get one… yes, when venturing on the odd side, I do in fact think about expense… I ain’t got a job remember?  Anyway, turns out one cost a quarter!  So I got home, and convinced my roomie that we needed to try it.  Why not bring someone else into this little experiment.  He commented on seeing them, and we both commented on the folks that were gathering to look at the funny looking thing, and goodness knows, we’re both curious foodies, if anything.  I actually heard one older white man ask his wife who was really raising a ruckus over the things if they were sea urchins…

red-sea-urchin

Red Sea Urchin

There’s definitely a resemblance, but obviously we were in the fruit section of the market.  Anywho… upon arriving home and getting the food goods put away, I rinsed the fruit and cut it in half.  I wasn’t sure what I’d find, or what I’d smell, or pretty much anything, so I was mildly surprised to see such a white interior:

cut open rambutan

Cut-open Rambutan

A slightly translucenty, opalescenty fruit surrounding a seed that resembled an almond.  Go figure!  The fruit looked firmly planted in the skin, however, when I pried at it with my knife, it quickly and easily pulled away from it.  Upon my research, it seems that most folks only cut skin deep and then peel the skin away and suck on the fruit…

The taste?  Well, the taste was AMAZING!  Really!  I was very surprised.  It was similar to a pear… at least I think.  There was a small amount of tartness, but the sweetness was melony too.  The consistency was very much like a firm grape, or very firm gelatin.  The seed apparently is slightly “toxic and narcotic” – hah!  go figure.   However, since it wasn’t a freestone, it was hard to get the peel of the seed separate from the pulp.  So, hopefully I haven’t poisoned myself.  Not sure what the side effects are, but nothing is showing in my basic search.  The nutrition of the fruit, however, is pretty good for a tiny fruit.  High in Vitamin C, Potassium, and Magnesium, this seems like a pretty nifty snack for your health.

My thoughts?  YAY me for trying something weird and new and unheard of… at least by me.  I also think I may go back tomorrow and get quite a bit more so I can snack on them throughout the weekend.  Hope they last long enough.  Here’s one last shot that I thought was kinda funny!

Upright rambutan

Upright rambutan with monkey in background...

I think this is opening a door for me to try other things, like the lychee, which apparently is a close relative.  In fact, in trying to find other comparisons of taste, all I could find was that the rambutan was similar in taste to the lychee.  And really, what’s a better catch phrase than “Adventures in Weird Food”??? 😀

Happy weekend everyone!

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