WTF? (What’s this fruit?)

Rambutan fruit

So the other day I was strolling the produce stalls at Cleveland’s Westside Market and I saw these little gems. I had to ask the vendor, “What the heck is that?”

He kindly went into his spiel, even though he’s probably asked a million times a day. These spiky, ping-pong ball sized things–that look like they sprang from the pages of a book by Dr. Seuss–were rambutan fruit. Once I learned they were edible and not the eggs from some species of alien chicken, I knew I was going to buy some.

The vendor recounted all he knew about Rumspringa (that’s one of the many things that is great about the Westside Market, many vendors are very knowledgable about their products and are happy to share what they know). He told me what to expect from the Rasputin in terms of the taste, shared some of the nutritional benefits (they have a lot of vitamin C and calcium in the small amount of flesh each contains), told me they grow in tropical areas and are prolific like weeds. He told me so much that I forgot what the name of the fruit actually was.

One other thing the produce vendor told me before I departed with my spiky treasures was the Roomba was considered an aphrodisiac in some cultures. I thought this was odd, because they definitely didn’t look very sexy. Regardless, I couldn’t wait to get them home to try them!

Peeled rambutan fruitPeeled rambutan fruit

I don’t know if I got the “medicinal” effect from the Ramstein fruit, but I did fall in love with the taste! It’s hard to describe, but it’s a little grape-y, very sweet and something else I can’t quite describe. The closest I can get is maybe a bit of honeydew melon or vanilla flavor.

I gave a couple to Christine to try, to see if the Rambo had mass appeal. Here’s her review:

“I find ramentum very tasty. I don’t think rampallion are my new favorite fruit, though. Razzmatazz do not provide enough calories to make a meal. I would eat ramalamadingdong again.”

So, I call this a win in the “try something new” category! What weird food item have you tried (and were you glad you tried it)?