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This Funny-Looking Fruit Came From Trader Joe’s

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Rambutun slit open

What is this thing?

It looks like it came from the bottom of the ocean, or outer space perhaps, or maybe even the pages of a Dr. Seuss book. As it turns out, we found it in the produce section at Trader Joe’s!

This hairy-looking fruit (which bears a striking resemblance to this Animal from the Muppets) is called rambutan. Although it’s native to southeast Asia, it’s now grown in tropical places all over the world like Guatemala and Honduras.


Rambutan at Trader Joe's

Rambutans start out green and then they turn red, orange, or yellow as they ripen. This super-sweet fruit tastes like a peeled grape and has around 10 calories each. Want to try one? Just cut a slit in the spiky skin, peel it off, eat the fleshy insides, and toss the pit. Rambutans can be refrigerated whole and unpeeled to extend their freshness.


Rambutan cut open

HLB Specialties first sold Rambutans in the US in 2016, and now they’re back for a limited time.

We found ours at Trader Joe’s in a 12-ounce package for $4.99, but they may also be sold at midwest and east coast Walmarts, Whole Foods, Meijer and Freshfields Farm stores through September 14th.


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Join The Discussion

Comments 58

  1. Adam

    They aren’t bad, but not amazing to me (aside from how it comes). The description of a large grape is accurate. I don’t think they are worth the price premium for what you get, but fun for kids to try.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Adam! I’m sure my kiddos would find these interesting to try!

  2. LT

    One of my favorite as a kid is this Rambutan fruit. It’s cheaper where i came from—-Philippines. I don’t know why is it so expensive here.🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️🤷‍♀️LoL. I am happy that I get to eat this from time to time. Thank you so much Hip2Save from sharing. I am being nostalgic.🤗🤗🤗

    • LS

      Ditto 😃 another Filipina here…

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How neat! You’re very welcome, LT! Thanks for taking a moment to share with us!

    • riss

      Another pinay here 😀. If they start selling lanzones, I’ll be there! Rambutan is ok, but not the fruit I crave.

      • Julie

        I miss santol the most, can never find it anywhere here. Fruit tastes like sweet lemons.

      • Ger

        Yesssss I wish they’d start selling Lanzones & Sanrio!!! Miss it so much!!! 😭😋😋😋

        • Ger

          Santol* stupid spell check! Now only if they’d start Bob’s restaurants here in FL! Lol 😂 but we have Nipa Hut comes close with their lechone kawali & Krispy Pata 🤤

    • mae snapp

      Was gonna post the same 🙂

  3. Phuong

    LOL – Asian market sell this as 1.49/LB sometime it on sale for .99/LB.

    Most of the rambutan come from mexico 🙂

    • Mac

      Yes, if you have an Asian market they are cheaper there.

  4. Maple36

    Oh! My little girl will be happy when she finds out about this. She loves rambutan!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      PERFECT!

  5. Hillery

    Wow so neat to see this post here I first bought rambutan at Walmart yes Walmart about 4 years ago. please note that inside the fleshy fruit is an almond shape nut like seed, it is POISONOUS and can cause liver failure so Please do not eat the seed I thought it was very careless that they didn’t have a sign up about this at the grocery store.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the warning, Hillery.

    • Another Shelly

      They would have to put a warning by almost every fruit with a seed then. Lol.

  6. Happie

    My favorite fruit!😍

  7. Lan

    Lol it’s one of my kids favorite fruits and they will do anything for them..chores, politely asking etc. I can get them at $1, $1.50 per pound (each time I buy about 10-15 lbs). They store pretty well in a tight dry container for about 2 weeks. This is our summer treats and I pack then everywhere we go as a good snack to give the kids (beach, road trip etc.). The season is dwindling down so I will have to make another trip to pick up a few weeks worth. Btw, they are great in syrup and add to mojitos and fruity adult drinks! ;p

  8. Norma

    I have tasted this on my travels. It reminds me of peeled grapes. Very delicious.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh cool! Thanks for letting us know what these are like, Norma! I haven’t tried them yet.

  9. Van Tran

    My husband can finish 2-3 lbs in one sitting, lol.
    Thanks H2S for all the awesome deals. You guys are the best!!!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      LOL! You’re so welcome. Thanks for the super sweet comment! ❤️ It sure means a lot!

  10. Kristi S.

    My youngest wanted to try just because it was an odd thing to see in our grocery (she’s pretty game to try fruit!). We enjoyed it because it was unusual, but it won’t be a regular on our shopping list.

  11. Tina9222

    Lechee fruit is similar and tastes like these, I get them in NY for my daughter for 3/$1.00, me I’m not thrilled with sucking around on fruit with little pulp too much work…

  12. Nikita

    When you refer to ethnic foods as weird or ‘Sci Fi’ it is really strange. For many people, these foods seem pretty normal. It’s great to bring awareness to new things but things from my culture are not Sci fi, they’re common and normal everyday things.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for the feedback, Nikita. We have updated the post title.

    • Lauren

      You’re so right, Nikita. White/American-centrism is a real thing; thanks for pointing it out.

      • karen

        I’m not sure this is a “white American centrism” thing but maybe if you’re any ethnicity that has never been to Asia or seen it before, you might find this as a “weird” looking fruit. I would expect people in Asia to laugh at some of our ice cream flavors or “weird” foods people eat in the US and I wouldnt consider it offensive for them saying so. I keep wondering when everyone got so sensitive about everything. Glad hiptosave is trying to make the posts entertaining and educating us about other foods available.

    • Nikki

      Thank you for pointing it out. I have noticed a drop in quality of writing/posts since Collin expanded out.

    • Kitty

      Agreed… I think it could be worded like “have you heard of this unique and delicious fruit?”

  13. Cecile

    I think this post is culturally insensitive…this is normal fruit to most of the East Asians and sells regularly and cheaply in Asian markets in the US.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      SO very sorry, Cecile. Thanks so much for commenting. We have updated the post.

    • pokz

      Im asian…filipino to be exact…im not offended… some peeps just didnt know what this was…now they know! Theyll be like… “oh yeah ive seen that on h2s..its called rambutan and its mostly from asia”…. see that help we contributed?

      • Lily

        Pokz, I did not see the original H2S post, but I believe Cecile was commenting on the wording and analogies used (e.g., sci-fi, weird, “something from the bottom of the sea”) which connotes a negative value judgement. While that is minor in isolation and I’m sure H2S didn’t mean any harm by it, it promotes a mentality that the dominant U.S. culture is “normal” and all other cultures are “weird” or “unnatural”. It would be better to just say “Have your tried this fruit? It’s common in parts of Asia, but now you can buy it at TJ’s.”

        At the end of the day, cultural sensitivity is not about censoring yourself to avoid offending others, but rather about practicing empathy. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and showing respect for other people’s views / practices / experiences.

        • Lily

          Thanks to the H2S team for being willing to listen and improve though!

          • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

            No problem, Lily! The Hip Community is so important to us! We appreciate you!

          • Jennifer

            This fruit is not new to my family but I do view it as odd looking compared to some because of the little projections all over it. My kids call it tentacular fruit.

        • Annie

          I completely agree!

        • Kitty

          Great way to explain it Lily 👍

        • Cecile

          Such a great view on cultural sensitivity…thanks Lily! And thanks to the hip2save team’s active listening and improvement. I am very glad your team promoted something different to get everyone exposed.

        • Mad Scientist

          As a “Sci-fi” fan, a Scientist, a Scuba Diver, and lover of the “ocean depths,” all creatures strange, “weird,” and wonderful, I am offended at your suggestion that those terms are derogatory.

  14. Kristi Wendt

    We go to Hawaii twice a year and buy it from the farmers market on the Big Island.

  15. Blickie

    We buy them every year for our halloween party because its a scary looking food. But it tastes so mild and is easy to peel.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s a fun idea, Blickie!

  16. pokz

    Its a filipino lychee … its called rambutan ram-boo-tan …

  17. Laura

    I appreciate I this post, and the comments that follow. I am from the Upper Midwest and we don’t see things like this here AT ALL. I learned something new, and if I ever see one in person (which is extremely unlikely) I ill be sure to buy it so I can experience it for myself.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s awesome that you are able to use this post and learn more, Laura!

  18. Christina

    My family are from SE Asia so we eat them all the time. I have gotten them as cheap as $9 for 5lb box at the Asian Supermarket. Sometimes you get a good box and it as sweet as a Longan. Other times it is a bit sour. I suggest people who are not familiar to give it a try. If you have a hard them opening with your fingers, you can use a knife to split them open.

  19. patricialavenz-goff

    I miss currants and gooseberries that I used to eat all the time in Germany. I have never found them here in the states or at least in the Central zone.

    • Joy

      We have berry orchards in Upstate/Central NY that grow currants and gooseberries.

    • Maggie

      Johannesbeeren…yum. I’ve never seen them in the U.S. The jam is sometimes sold at IKEA, in the snack bar area.

  20. Connie

    I’m from Southeast Asia and we call it Rambutan! It’s so juicy, sweet and delicious!

  21. Linda T

    If you have a Sprouts store nearby, I found the fruit at 3 for $1 (which was perfect for us to try them out). I used to eat them in Singapore many years ago….

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for sharing, Linda T!

  22. Jacki

    They have had these for years at an international fruit store by me for years. My favorite fruit though is actually the lychee. We buy them by the case in the summer. The best fruit I have ever tasted.

  23. Mickey

    I just had some in Hawaii yesterday

  24. A

    Hello.. I was able to find these today at my local Lidl in NC. So pleased to be able to try them.. So good. ☺

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