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Jun 2, 2013 02:26 PM

Lychees (2013)

After dim sum today, I popped into the Cupertino 99 Ranch and saw a dwindling supply of Mexican lychees for $3.49 a pound. They looked rather small, some red, some brown and no green. I didn't have a great experience last year with lychees from Mexico (big pits, not much sweetness), so I passed.

Besides Ranch, Marina or driving up to the city, where else could I nab some good lychees?

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  1. Mom grabbed a bag from the other Cupertino 99 Ranch. These were reportedly from China. Mostly a mix of brown and red.

    A pretty inconsistent batch, as if the lychees came from 2 different cultivars.

    - Somewhat sweet, smaller pit.
    - Sour, large pit. (kinda like the Mexican-grown ones last year)

    Hopefully the next batch won't be as inconsistent.

    1. I did a quick glance at a few stands on Stockton St in Chinatown this week while shopping for other things. Not as much variety as in the past, I didn't see any that looked promising enough to buy.

      1. got some lychee is s.f. chinatown today, price ranged from 2.39 to 2.99. all markets had the same lychee with the reddish, greenish shell. didn't note case markings.

        lychee average size, meat firm, slightly sweet flavor. didn't taste as sweet as taiwan ones from years past.

        1. I saw some very large and bright red ones marked from Hawaii for about $9 per pound on Clement St yesterday. This is the produce store in between Wing Lee and Schubert Bakery. I didn't stop to buy any to see how good they are. But I wanted to mention it in case they're available elsewhere.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Oakland Chinatown regularly sells lychees from Mexico for ~$2 a pound; they are OK. Once in a blue moon I'd see Hawaiian lychees at three times that price. When I first tried them I was shocked at how good they were, easily the best out of China. $9/pound is a very steep price though. I bet even Whole Foods doesn't have a fruit or veggie at that price. ;-)

            1. re: vincentlo

              This particular store is interesting. Wish I'd noted the name. It sells mostly organic produce and commands a higher price point. The lychees were not labeled as organic, but the clientele here are used to paying more.

              1. re: vincentlo

                Just thought I would mention that here in Hawaii, local lychees sell for anywhere from $5.50-7/pound so I can imagine how much more they would cost on the continental U.S. Local mangosteen are the most expensive fruit I have seen selling for $14/pound here in Hawaii.

            2. I just bought lychees from New Lien Hing at 400 Clement Street, 386-0700. Only $1.99 a pound. Small seeds. Sweet and juicy!
              How can you tell if the seeds are small, without eating one?
              I'm going back for more!

              2 Replies
              1. re: elise h

                Do they allow you to sample one before purchase?

                1. re: vincentlo

                  they are already bagged and tied up in net bags. I think you could ask the cashier for a sample.
                  I bought more today at about 2.29/pound. Bigger seeds, but still juicy and sweet.
                  I hope you find some you enjoy!