July 11, 2014

Lychee Fruit Season is Here! 荔枝 - 糯米糍

Lychee, Fruit, Season, 荔枝, 糯米糍, chinese fruit, hong kong
By Published: 2014-07-11
Lychee season is here!  Yummy yeah!!  The glorious and sexy lychee fruit, beloved by Chinese emperors past, is the herald of real summer here in Hong Kong and the southern China regions.  When one starts to see mounds of these luscious red fruit around you know that 1) the heat is here to stay and 2) that you can start indulging in tasty revels of sun kissed summer fruits.  And of course the Queen of Summer Fruits here is none other than the lovely Lychee fruit, or 荔枝.  And...psst...my fruit vendor told me just the other day that its been a bumper year for the lychee fruit and it's the best crop in terms of sweetest that they've had in many, many years!


Lychee, Fruit, Season, 荔枝, 糯米糍, chinese fruit, hong kong

The lychee fruit is originally from the Guangdong province, in the beginning simply plucked off of wild trees.  The lychee is a produce that is singularly unlike the area it comes from:  a sensual, wildly beautiful yet tenderly delicate fruit found amongst a land of people tough and practical and not fond of ostentation.  Perhaps this very contrast is why it is so treasured a fruit here in the southern Chinese regions, even prompting my 老公's uncle, in a long long ago day, to steal the luscious berries from someone else's tree, getting shot in the arm in the process.  (Ouch!)

Lychee, Fruit, Season, 荔枝, 糯米糍, chinese fruit, hong kong
Flora Sinenis - Lychee.  From one of the earliest natural history books about China. Jesuit Missionary author Michał Piotr Boym, 1656
The measure of an excellent Lychee is in two things:  the clear sweetness of the pearly translucent flesh and the size of the brown seed inside.  The lychee at its best is so lusciously and uncloyingly sweet that you just fall in love.  At its worst the flesh can be sour tinged.  Regarding the seed at the center of the Lychee fruit, the smaller the better.  This year the lychee seeds are very small, as you can see from the photo above.  These small seeded lychee fruit have a special nickname of 'chicken tongue lychee' in English and  糯米糍 in chinese.

Glutinous Rice Ball,  Nuomici
The chinese nickname 糯米糍 for the small seeded lychee is actually the proper name for glutinous rice balls (see photo above), or Nuomici, a type of delicious chinese dessert of soft chewy glutinous rice balls filled with sesame paste, or red bean paste, etc.  The pearly translucence, soft and chewy, delicate and sweet nature of lychee fruit reminded people of the real sweet treat Nuomici 糯米糍, and therefore the nickname.

Lychee, Fruit, Season, 荔枝, 糯米糍, chinese fruit, hong kong

We have just had our first (of many!) sample of the lychee fruit this summer, dear readers, and it is soooo deliciously good this year!  Just give it a good wash (just right before eating and not before), carefully peel off the thin skin, revealing the juicy sweet pearl inside and pop it into your mouth!  Wow, wow!  Yummilicious!  The kiss of the summer sun, the fragrance of flowers, sweet, juicy, tender yet chewy!  Lychee Fruit is truly the Queen of Summer Fruits!

So what are y'all waiting for?!  Go right now and get some Lychee Fruit this hot summer day and treat yourself!

Tip:  To store the lychee, keep them on the stem (at least a bit of the stem if not all) and store in the fridge.  You can probably keep around 5 days or so (if they last that long!)

Tip Update:  We have found that the best way to store lychee is to store them loose, without a bag or covering, in the fridge.  The lychee skin will turn brown quickly but that will not effect the inside fruit at all.  If you store them at room temp or in the fridge with a bag or covered they will sweat, which is a big no-no.  Just take them out of the bag right away when you get home!

More Fruitilicious Summer Treats at The Hong Kong Cookery:

fruit, rose apple, wax apple, love apple, tropical fruitRose Apple 蓮霧

mango ice creamMango Ice Cream 芒果雪糕

chinese, hong kong iced tea, Hong Kong Style, Iced Lemon Tea, iced tea, 凍檸茶, 香港, recipeHong Kong Style Iced Lemon Tea 香港凍檸茶
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8 comments:

  1. Hmm? I never thought about giving it a good wash before eating them, only because they are so perishable and can get "moldy" when the skins are wet. Too bad they have such a short harvest season. Looking forward to getting some soon! Love your blog!

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    1. You have a good point. I don't wash them until right before we eat the lychee. I like to wash all fruit before eating cuz I want to wash any pesticide off . ~ellen

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  2. The fruit I enjoy the most in the summer! My only regret is its short harvest season, and then I have to buy the can ones. It can also get a little "moldy" on the outside skin, but I just peel them and throw them in the fridge or freezer!

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    1. I agree. That's why we're eating them as fast as we can right now! ~ellen

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  3. I just made a big batch of lychee ice cream. The fruit held up really well and infused the entire batch with amazing lychee flavor. Panna cotta next?

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    1. Hi Wes - Lychee ice cream sounds fabulous! Must try it! ~ellen

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  4. After reading your posts and comments I just had to run out and get some lychees myself. Unfortunately they're not as sweet as the ones I had eaten last summer. I guess I should have taken into account of the color of their shells (more olive green than pinkish) as an indicator. Oh well, they're still delicious. Maybe I will try to find a recipe for lychee ice cream. Thanks for the suggestion, Wes.

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    Replies
    1. Lychees should be pinky red when freshly ripe. Sometimes if they will be pinky brown when they've been picked for a while but that is still okay if fruit is firm. Pinky green I think means not yet ripe. Better luck next time! ~ellen

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