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Feb 2, 2010 07:33 AM

Rambutans in DC?

Anyone know where I can pick some up? They need to be rambutans, not lychees (which are pretty close but not as flamboyant), and fresh, not canned. I'm metro-limited so probably can't make it out to the more far-flung asian markets. Thanks for any leads!

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  1. Best bet would probably be Whole Foods, but I've personally never seen them there (and I shop there about once a week since it's the store closest to my apartment). You can try Trader Joe's, but to my knowledge, they only ever have dried ones.

    9 Replies
    1. re: yfunk3

      Thanks! I'll try TJs...might get lucky.

      1. re: caerphilly

        I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell to find fresh one at Trader Joe's. Your best bet is an Asian grocery, and even that is a huge long shot. A few years ago I traveled in Asia and came back with a rambutan kick but couldn't find them anywhere in the area. I even called some of the embassies for ideas. No Asian groceries had them. I think they are even quite hard to find in California. I saw them once in Vegas, that's it for the US, as far as I've seen. Dean and Deluca has lychees some times, but every time I've had them they were terrible -- not very fresh at all.

        If you find fresh rambutan, I'd be stunned and yes -- I'd buy some too. There are some big import hurdles though. for grocers trying to sell them (at least, the Asian ones). Your best bet is online through growers in Hawaii, but it is expensive and rarely available.

        1. re: masonuc

          I'm willing to take the longest of shots for this....but yes, you're probably right that asian markets are the only real chance around here. (Whole Foods does carry lychees from time to time, fyi, and the ones I've had weren't bad.)

          If I find any rambutans in the area I'll be sure to post it!

          1. re: caerphilly

            Wegmans has them from time to time. Only place i've seen them in the area.

          2. re: masonuc

            Grand Marts and H-Marts have them from time to time, but only in season--which I think is not now. I've also seen them in the various Eden Center delis.

            1. re: masonuc

              i bought them in October at an H Mart. I think they're seasonal, and I haven't seen them since.

              1. re: HowChowBlog

                That makes sense and is pretty interesting -- large Asian grocery in VA suburbs. I wonder what the season is, though? I'd trek out there for some fresh rambutan.

                1. re: masonuc

                  Brief sad update: I've tried a number of shops at the Capital City Market, the Wheaton H Mart, and (not tres relevant to this board, but since I was there) two Asian markets in Portland, OR. No luck...

                  1. re: caerphilly

                    Think of it this way: great excuse to plan a trip to Hawaii! Had some great ones there this past autumn... :)

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