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Fresh rambutan anywhere?

  • d

Has anyone seen fresh rambutans for sale this week anywhere in the east bay or SF? In particular are they available at the 99 ranch market in Albany or anywhere else? And if so how much $$?

Please be as specific as possible. I want to get them for my wife for her birthday. It is one of her favorite foods and she is otherwise very hard to buy presents for. A friend of mine who was in Hawaii said he could not bring them back due to quarantine.

Thanks very much.

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  1. I think there would be thousands of Bay Area people who are from southeast Asia who would love to enjoy fresh rambutan (among other many tropical fruits) which are simply not available in California due to agricultural protection laws.

      1. re: try this

        Thanks, I have tried calling all of these places but none of them seem to have fresh rambutan right now. My friend who was in Hawaii was visiting his dad, who has a rambutan orchard and he assured me they were in season. They just can't ship them here. Doh! If anyone hears anything please post!


      2. I have seen them in the summer @ Dai Thanh Supermarket 420 S 2nd St, San Jose, CA 95113 (408) 287-3744. Though I'm not sure that rambutans are in season.

        1. Doug - if your wife is from South-east Asia, she is probably won't be too happy with the variety of rambutans that are imported into the US (mostly from Honduras I think). They are just not the same. Of course it is a matter of personal taste. Rambutans come in all sorts of taste, texture & colors in Malaysia and surrounding countries. I prefer the Thai variety, really sweet, firm, cling-free, slightly oval in shape, bright red in color and with long hairs. Unfortunately, we don't know the names of all the varieties. Typically, we would just taste before buying. I know rambutans are grown in Florida but have no idea what variety, ditto for Hawaii. Rambutan season in SEA starts around May and goes for about 3-4 months. You can get them off season but they are not as good in my opinion.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Mary

            We get the Thai ones (at least ones that match your description exactly) in SoCal but haven't seen anything like it around here.

            BTW...are you sure it's rambutan season? I thought it only lasted thru early fall

          2. Has anyone seen rambutans yet anywhere in SF Bay Area? I saw posting in Florida board they have one from Honduras, just wonder if they made it here. Thanks.

            1. I saw them at Berkeley Bowl yesterday. I don't remember the price.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jeffj

                Thanks! Chowhound is great!
                I went to Berkeley Bowl today, they have it for $7.70/lbs. Imported from Guatemala, not irradiated. It's sweet and the texture is pretty good. It's not as great as one I picked up when I was in Toronto or in Indonesia, but it's still good.

              2. I just picked some up at the Trader Joe's in Napa, grown in Honduras. $3.69 for 10 oz package. They aren't as tasty as I remember them in Indonesia, though.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Non Cognomina

                  I just saw them at Trader Joe's too; they are tiny, much smaller than regular rambutan. I didn't try them for taste.

                2. I saw them at Trader Joe's in SF SOMA last week, but didn't note the price, nor did I try them for taste.

                  1. Fresh Rambutan at the Alemany Farmer's Market this morning. Don't quite remember the price - I think it might have been as much as $10 a pound.

                    1. The Oregon St. Berkeley Bowl had fresh rambutan today for I think it was $7 a pound. The sign said non-irradiated from Guatemala.

                      1. One vendor sells them at the Alemany farmer's market for $7 per pound.

                        1. I saw them at the San Mateo Farmer' Market this weekend!

                          1. Saw some at Berkeley Bowl West last week. They looked a little old though--the skin was a bit tough to crack open.

                            1. I just got rambutans at Duc Loi market in San Francisco:
                              2200 Mission St San Francisco, CA 94110-1812

                              I've attached a photo of rambutans as proof!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: dafaust

                                On Sunday I was at the 99 Ranch Market Mall in Richmond for Dim Sum at Asia Pearl. Afterwards we stopped by the 99 Ranch Market and they do have fresh rambutans. I did not notice the price.

                                1. re: Ridge

                                  I think they were $5 or $5.5 a lb. I tried some, a bit like lychee with less sweetness and a little more acidity. Very nice, wonder what they are like in their home range.

                              2. I just bought some at the Richmond Ranch 99 last week.

                                1. I saw some at Monterey Market earlier this week.

                                  1. I just saw some really nice looking fresh rambutan at Berkeley Bowl West.

                                    Berkeley Bowl West
                                    920 Heinz Ave, Berkeley, CA

                                    1. Bought fresh rambutan from Marina Foods in Milpitas for $2/lb. The posted flyer said the special price was $2.49/lb. But there were prepacked trays with $1.99 stickers on them that weighed a little over a pound.

                                      These are from Mexico. No info in the store on whether they're irradiated or not. But since non-irradiated rambutan can be imported from Mexico, I hope for the best.

                                      The fruits are quite fresh and in good shape. Some variability in juiciness with some lacking enough moisture. But overall, quite good with nice balance of tart/sweet flavors. I'd buy these again.