Traveling and Local Specialties

Roadside Rambutans

Roadside Rambutans Photo: Athena Alexander

Driving on the back roads of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, we spontaneously bought a big bag of rambutans.  A red fruit that you open with a knife, there’s a sweet and refreshing white fruit inside.


We were in a car with some friends and cut open rambutans the whole day as we cruised the countryside looking for birds.  (Rambutan photo below, info here,)  All I have to do is see a rambutan and I remember that relaxed afternoon in Kauai.  An Aloha moment.


A favorite travel activity of mine is to partake of local foods, especially regionally grown produce.  Driving through Idaho last fall, for instance, we saw many fields of potatoes.  Local restaurants (Jake’s in particular) fixed this tuber in more ways I ever thought possible.  Waffle-shaped fries!


Washington cherries in Seattle

WA cherries, Seattle. Photo: Athena Alexander

The sweetest corn I ever had was in Illinois, and every time I go back it’s the first thing I want to eat.  You see ears of corn piled on roadside truck beds, as fresh as can be.  My sisters have it ready for when I arrive.  Last summer, cherries in Washington, incredible.  We bought five pounds of cherries at the farmer’s market, returned to our friend’s house, and immediately made the rubiest cherry preserves ever.


What are some of your favorites?

Rambutan. Image: Import











46 thoughts on “Traveling and Local Specialties

  1. Cycling through SW France in the summer, every market had wonderful produce – never had a white peach before or since that tasted so good!
    I can never resist trying the beer from local microbreweries on our North American travels, often the perfect way to unwind further at the end of a day on the road…

    • Oh boy, white peaches from the south of France, now that sounds wonderful. How delightful to enjoy while cycling. And a tasty local beer, mmmm. Sounds fantastic, pc. Many thanks! 😀

  2. Definitely the cherries!! I know it is a seasonal fruit but Australian cherries are just beautiful… having said that so are the US cherries, Jet. 🙂 Thanks for this interesting post. Yes, fruits are good for us.

    • You don’t really see rambutans here in the States too much, except in Hawaii. They come from a tree that mostly grows in Southeast Asia. They look unique, so unmistakable; now you know what to look for on one of your tropical adventures, Cindy. Thank you for your comment. 😀

  3. Jet I wonder about when you travel internationally such as to spots like Ecuador and Peru. Are you still keen to try things at the side of the road? I must say we were extraordinarily careful on our trip. Kind of a shame actually.

    • I’m super conservative with eating all foods when I’m internationally traveling, Sue, espec. in Africa, and yes, So.Amer. I wasn’t as brave as you with the coca leaves, and only tried the coca hard candy. In third world countries I don’t eat raw foods at all, as much as I enjoy salads etc.; due to the foreign bacteria introduction from water. Great question! 😀

  4. I have seen a picture of the fruit recently, in those unsolicited ads in Google. It was something about a cure for all. There was no name though, so now I know it 🙂 I would be very careful in the foreign countries too. Local people have immunity to some germs because of their diet, and we don’t. Thank you for sharing!

  5. I’ve never seen or heard of rambutans before. They look very enticing. I’m enjoying a glut of my favorites at the moment. Only way I like cherries are Bings straight off the tree (don’t bother with the pies or such). When I get them ripe, just picked, I have to be careful not to glut on them since they’re apt to create mad dashes to the rest room. Still, very much worth it! 😉 Then there are the freshly picked blueberries. Strawberries much the same, but I can get a bit tired of them since the season seems to last all summer. I pretty much stick to fruits in season, there’s nothing like it. Corn (yummy even here in Oregon if fresh picked) is another delight and then later, comes the season of the delightful sweet, slightly tart crunch of apples. I’m drooling as I type…. 😀

  6. So that’s what those fruits are – I’ve seen them in the grocery and wondered. Nothing can beat the peaches they used to sell at Ikida’s in Auburn. Yum.

  7. I’ve heard of rambutans but have never tasted one. The inner flesh looks very much like a lychee—would you say they taste similar to a lychee? My partner and I love to partake of local specialty foods when we travel too. It’s one of the things we love best. We have made a bit of a hobby out of trying different local honey. And there’s nothing better than coming across a fruit or produce stand when one is travelling around another country. Did you manage to hit the Idaho Potato Museum when you were in Idaho? We’ve driven by the sign for it a few times but have never yet stopped. We keep wanting to stop and have a tour as it just sounds like so much fun! Great post—you really brought to life one of the best parts of travelling! :))

    • Thanks so much Jeannie, for your keen comments. Yes, the rambutan is very similar to the lychee. And no, didn’t stop at the ID Potato Museum but we, like you, were tempted. Flying along at 80 mph, making good time, it’s hard to stop for anything but food and gas. I thank you for your great exchange here. 😀

  8. I was also thinking they were like lychees “. Kept us know if the taste is similar Jet.
    You really can’t beat anything grown and picked right there and then. It is all SO good when you have the freshly picked smell along with the taste….
    Which reminds me of picking peas in the spring 🙂

  9. Jet! I love this post…gives me a flashback to Italy and the juicy oranges and red-ripe tomatoes that you find in every summer market!
    I was curious about the rambutans! I think I’ve heard of them before but never saw one! Very interesting fruits and I’m sure delicious…are they similar to lychees?

    • Hi Lia. Yes, the rambutans are similar to lychees. They are mostly found in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries. Loved hearing about Italy and the juicy oranges and ripe tomatoes. Thanks so very much for your visit today, dear Lia. 😀

  10. Rambutan! They are an amazing fruit, aren’t they? These and mangosteen were my favorite in SE Asia. Did you know that rambut is bahasa for hair? The fruit is literally translated ‘hairy fruit.’ So fun.

    PS – Jealous about Kauai, Jet. Looks as if you made the best of your trip.

    • I loved hearing the translation, Shannon, thank you. It truly is a hairy-looking fruit, so funky, so cool. I love Hawaii. I would not want to live there because islands don’t appeal to me for that, but ohhhh, I just love to visit there. Thanks so much for your visit and comment today, Shannon. 😀

  11. This is such a good hairy fruit! We get it here in FL occasionally. My local favorite in Uganda was passion fruit. We always bought a big bag of them every Saturday at the local market. Still miss them.

  12. Peaches in Utah: while in college, a bunch of us stopped by a road side stand in Utah to buy some peaches. The owner said not to bother. Instead he told us to go into his orchard right nearby and eat as many peaches as we could, no charge. To this day, they are the sweetest and best peaches I ever had.

    • What a total delight that must’ve been Hien. I can imagine you and your buddies in the orchard standing there under the trees eating them, the juices dripping freely onto the ground. This is a great story — thank you so very much. 😀 😀

  13. Jet. You never cease to amaze me with the breadth of your interests and knowledge. I’m so grateful you share it so generously… and enjoyably! But frankly, that’s the weirdest-looking fruit I’ve ever seen. ha

    • So glad you enjoyed the post, and yes, that’s a very funny looking fruit, isn’t it? Your comment made me lol. 😀 Thanks so very much, Nan — great to have you visit. 😀

  14. And one of my favorite food experiences was sitting on my deck with you, eating delicious sweet cherries, spitting the pits over the railing. Watching fireflies.

    • lol, lol, yes such a fun summer evening that was! Cherries, cherries, cherries, I can never get enough. And fireflies and sister Nan…ah, so truly divine. 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s