The rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum) is a medium-sized tropical tree in the family Sapindaceae. It is native to Malaysia, Indonesia and Southeast Asia, although its precise natural distribution is unknown. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits including the Lychee, Longan, and Mamoncillo. It is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago. Rambutan in Indonesian, Filipino and Malay literally means hairy caused by the 'hair' that covers this fruit. In Thailand the fruit is known as ngoh. In Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, it is known as mamón chino. There is a second species regularly for sale at Malay markets which is known as "wild" rambutan. It is a little smaller than the usual red variety and is colored yellow. The outer skin is peeled exposing the fleshy fruit inside which is then eaten. It is sweet and sour to the taste.
Mercado de Abastos, Panama City. October 11th, 2009
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