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.



18 Responses to “Lychee season”

  1. Janine — August 5, 2011 at 2:47 am

    I too look forward to many fruits, and lychees and cherries are some of my favorites too, along with other berries :) Particularly adore the photo with the half-peeled lychee – it looks so succulent that I’m literally salivating!

    • Kirbie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 8:37 am

      I love the picture with the half peeled one to. I think it shows the lychee at it’s best: A peek of the inside, but also still showcasing the pretty exterior shell.

  2. Carol — August 5, 2011 at 7:33 am

    I’ve always pronounced it with the long “e” since that’s how my family have always pronounced it (well, we speak Mandarin obviously). The Mister laughs anytime someone says li-chee because it reminds him of when we had dinner at a 5-star restaurant in Waikiki once. I ordered the leechee sorbet and the waiter immediately corrected me by saying, “Oh, you want the LIE-chee sorbet.” Note his emphasis on the “lie”. I thought to myself, yeah? li-chee this on your tip buddy! Nonetheless, whether it’s pronounced the Mandarin or Cantonese way, it’s a delicious fruit. :-)

    • Kirbie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 8:37 am

      Lol, what a funny story. I don’t know why but it always bothers me when people say it with the long “I” sound. And I’ve heard people who pronounce it that way correct others too. Ugh! And I’ve never heard the opposite (people who say it with the long e and then correct others who say it with the I)

  3. Little Corner of Mine — August 5, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Your lychee look so fresh! Ahhhh….we need a Ranch 99 here too.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 8:25 am

      One of the first things I liked about moving to California was that there was a Ranch 99!

  4. Marissa — August 5, 2011 at 10:20 am

    I always say LIE-chee…the other way sounds good too though! Guess it doesn’t matter when the fruit is so delicious! Where do you usually buy yours?

    • Kirbie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 11:52 am

      I usually buy it at Ranch 99. They seem to have the cheapest when it’s on sale. Recently I bought some at the Fruit Shop. I thought it was a little pricey, but they were imported from somewhere else. They were really sweet though. I’ve also bought it from the Vietnamese market on Linda Vista before, but I don’t go there often.

  5. caninecologne — August 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    i pronounce it as Lie-Chee. this is my daughter’s favorite fruit. we just bought some at seafood city and they were so good. you’re right – it’s like eating candy!

    re: canned lychees – i once used the juice for some soju shooters. mmmm! worked quite well! you could probably make some good lychee martinis and garnish it with a fresh peeled fruit.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

      oh what a good idea. I actually just read a post by someone who made lychee martinis. Planning on doing some baking if I get another batch that I don’t eat right away! I also like lychee ice drinks.

      • caninecologne replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

        i wonder if you could do something with lychee in cupcakes? hint hint! :)

        • Kirbie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

          I was thinking of making a lychee chiffon cake or sponge cake, but a cupcake sounds good too.

  6. Carol — August 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Did someone say lychee martinis?? I made a soju lychee martini just a couple of weeks ago. I made a tropical rum drink with the canned lychee juice with some OJ and pineapple juice that was pretty good, too.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 5th, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

      Now you and CC have me really wanting a lychee drink. You make such wonderful things at your house, your husband is so lucky!

  7. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen — August 6, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Can you believe that I have never tried lychee? I need to keep my eye out for them! :)

    • Kirbie replied: — August 6th, 2011 @ 8:46 am

      You should try them if you get a chance!

  8. Nastassia Johnson — August 8, 2011 at 9:33 am

    love lychees and lychee season! i have a handful left in my fridge, gotta make another run to the store for more and eat as many as I can while they’re around :)

    • Kirbie replied: — August 8th, 2011 @ 9:37 am

      Haha, you sound like me. I’ve been stocking up every week and gobbling as many as possible.

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