A rambutan is a tropical, jelly-like fruit that is native to Southeast Asia, and it’s one of those foods you’ll have to travel for, as it’s not easy to find outside that part of the world. The wordrambutancomes for the Malay word for hair, which makes sense, because a rambutan is bright pink in color and very hairy. When skinned, what remains is a translucent, pearly jelly that tastes more solid and floral than a lychee.
The pulasan, Nephelium mutabile Blume (family Sapindaceae), is a tropical fruit closely allied to the rambutan and sometimes confused with it. It has various common names, including pulasan in English, Spanish and Malay, kapulasan in Indonesia, ngoh-khonsan in Thailand, and bulala or panungayan in the Philippines. Usually eaten fresh, it is sweeter than the rambutan and lychee, but very rare outside Southeast Asia.