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Oct 25, 2006 12:40 PM

Frozen Lychees

I need to find frozen lychees for my Halloween Lichido Punch. I beg you to help me out so I don't have to resort to the canned ones! I am willing to travel to all boroughs to find this.

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  1. It is unlikely that you will find any Lychees at this time of the year, even frozen ones (Lychees are in season during the months of May and June). Frozen Lychees begin to lose some of their texture and flavor after being frozen, hence there is not much demand for frozen Lychees among the Asian community, since most Lychees are sold fresh for eating rather than other cooking purposes.

    However, a good substitute for Lychees is the smaller “Lungan,” also known as “dragon eyes,” that are on sale presently at any of the NYC Chinatowns at $8 to $9 per pound (the freshest ones are sold still on the branches, but sometimes if the loose ones are reasonably fresh, we will buy loose ones without having to pay for very expensive wood branches). If you are not familiar with “Lungans,” information on the “dragon eyes” can be found at this and other websites: It should be noted that the fresh “Lungan” have pits, hence there may be some suitability issues in putting them in a punch drink.

    If you decide that only Lychees will do, the canned “Champion” brand Lychees (they are de-pitted) are reasonably acceptable in still retaining some of the texture and flavor reminiscent of fresh ones. Most of the other canned Lychee brands are terrible and we can understand your reluctance to use them, but try one can of “Champion” brand Lychees and see if they meet your requirements. The canned “Champion” brand Lychees can be bought at most larger Chinese grocery stores at any of the NYC Chinatowns.

    2 Replies
    1. re: lwong

      Sorry to say, but Lungan would not work well at all as a substitute for lychees in this instance. They do have a very similar texture, but Dragon's Eyes also have an incredibly pungent, musky flavour that I think would be unpleasant in a punch.

      1. re: frenetica

        While Dragon Eyes do have a much sharper taste than Lychees, we are not sure that we agree with your description of them as having “an incredibly pungent, musky flavour (sic).” Durian fruit could certainly be described as having a pungent, musky flavor (these adjectives are relatively mild, as many people might use more unspeakable adjectives to describe the taste of Durian fruit), but the flavor of Dragon Eyes is quite mild by comparison and similar to the flavor of the Lychee. But despite the odor and taste, Durian is much beloved by many people. Hence, what is unpleasant to some, may be pleasant to others.

        Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and in the same way, taste is in the tongue of the beholder also.

        But this is what makes life interesting, for people to have different tastes and opinions which makes for lively discussions on all topics of life.

    2. I used canned lychees for a sangria and it turned out fine at my party.

      1 Reply
      1. re: designerboy01

        What brand canned Lychees did you use? We have used Champion canned Lychees for a almond float desert also with good results, but our experience over the years though, is that most of the other brands that we have bought in the Chinese grocery stores are just not as good as the Champion brand. What other brands have you tried that you consider acceptable?

      2. I'm pretty sure I saw frozen lychees at Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights 2 days ago.

        1. You just reminded me of the 5 pounds of peeled, deseeded lychees I have in the freezer! Unfortunately they are not from a store, I packed them myself.