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Location: Penang, Malaysia

September 29, 2006

The King of Rambutan

Rambutan is a pretty common fruit here. Everyone loves it. Here in Malaysia, we are lucky that we can enjoy it fresh from the tree. However, there is a catch. Having a rambutan tree in front of your house means you have to bear with ants, black and red, fast running and slow crawling types.

If you talk to friends who used to stay in the "kampung", they will tell you there is something more succulent than rambutan, i.e. the pulasan. It is not just a cousin of the rambutan, but people call it the king of rambutan. It is native to the Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia). Pulasan, rambutan, longan, and lychee are from the same Sapindaceae family.

Scientific name for rambutan is nephelium lappaceum, while surprisingly for pulasan, it is nephelium ramboutan-ake. It has a botanical synonym too, nephelium mutabile.
Malay name : buah pulasan
Thai name : ngoh-khonsan
Filipino name : bulala
Spanish name : pulasán
Dutch name : kapoelasan

I bought a few kilograms of pulasan at Carrefour two weeks ago at RM 4.00 / kg. They have never sold it before. My friend, one kilogram is not much considering its size and the weight of its skin (or shell). That was my first time in life seeing and eating pulasan. Once you have tasted pulasan, you don't want rambutan anymore. Damn good !!!

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