It’s lychee season!!!
As you can tell I’m super excited. Every summer I eagerly anticipate the arrival of many fruits, but the two most in particular that I love are cherries and lychees. Lychees are generally available around here in San Diego in late July through mid August.
Lychee tend to look slightly different depending on what country they are imported from. These ones I photoed, I purchased from Ranch 99, and they were imported from Taiwan. I absolutely love the red hue of the skin.
For those unfamiliar with lychee, it’s a tropical fruit (originally from China) that is usually a little bigger than the size of a cherry (around 1 1/2 times bigger). It has an exterior shell which you must peel off. The flesh is translucent. When you bite into it, juices will immediately squirt out. The juice of the lychee is syrupy sweet so it’s almost like eating candy rather than eating fruit.
I’ve found the best way to eat lychee is to peel half the shell, then it will pop out of the other half pretty easily. I usually put the entire lychee in my mouth because I don’t want the juice to squirt everywhere. I then I spit out the pit.
I’ve heard the fruit pronounced two ways: lee-chee and lie-chee (with a long” i” sound). I prefer the long “e” sound as it sounds more like the chinese pronunciation.
I have a lot of fond memories of eating lychee. I was first introduced to it when visiting my grandparents in Taiwan. One year, my grandfather was able to arrange bringing an entire small lychee tree to his building, so that we could pick lychee from the tree. We had so much fun. After every meal would be a huge bowl of lychee to eat. Eating them was like eating candy so I just kept eating until the bowl was empty.
If you are looking for lychee, you should be able to find them at any Asian grocery store or a specialty tropical fruit store.