Rambutan vs Lychee: What’s the Difference?

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Christina Ross
Christina Rosshttps://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/
I'm a human being on planet earth. I've lived hundreds of lifetimes. In this incarnation I'm here to advance medicine.

Rambutan and lychee are very similar looking fruits that can be found in anything from desserts to martinis. As members of the Sapindaceae family, lychee and rambutan are considered cousin fruits.

They are two of the most common Asian tropical fruits, highly popular among travelers around the world. However, due to several reasons, people often get confused identifying which is which.

So here, we’ve written this Rambutan vs Lychee comparison to make it easier for you to decide between the two based on the origin, appearance, flavor.

Are you excited to learn about the differences? Then scroll down further to know more!

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Fun Fact!

According to legend, during Chinese dynasties, royal families would ask their servants to include lychees in their meal almost every other day! They believed lychees contain the benefits to enhance beauty. For this reason, in China; lychee is considered a royal fruit.

Whereas rambutans could be found everywhere, and due to their availability, it was considered a casual fruit.



Let’s start with the more popular fruit, lychee.


Most Asian markets and some supermarket stores carry fresh lychees.

The lychee tree (Litchi chinensis), which is native to southern China, produces lychee fruit. In Thailand, lychees, which are native to a tree with the same name, are also popular fruit.

Despite its origins in China, the tree is widely farmed in Southeast Asia. From the Indian subcontinent to the Hawaiian Islands, numerous diverse varieties are cultivated all over the world.


Small, pink-red lychee fruits have a tough leathery skin that you can’t consume. When you remove the red outer shell of lychee fruit, you’ll find soft and translucent flesh.

It is somewhat sour with a floral aroma of fruit that surrounds a single big seed inside. Clusters of three to 50 lychees can be found in each bunch.


Lychees have a sweet and fragrant flavor. To some people, it almost tastes like a grape with a trace of rose, while others think it tastes like a watermelon. In terms of pairing with other tropical flavors, the lychee’s sweetness and tartness make it ideal.

Despite the fruit’s modest sweetness, the luscious, succulent texture makes it a delight to eat in the summer. In addition, the fruit’s peel and the seed should not be consumed.

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Now onto the second star of the show, Rambutans!


As the name suggests, it’s native to Southeast Asia and abundantly grown in Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, where the rambutan tree thrives.


Large clusters of rambutan fruits, each roughly the size of a golf ball, can be found in the wild. It’s red and hairy because of the fleshy flexible ‘spines’ covering the skin. Rambutan is oval or circular in shape.

Because of its distinctive prickly hairs sprouting from its outer skin, the rambutan is recognizable. With their enormous grape-like arils and fragrant flavor, rambutan fruits are easy to identify once they’re peeled as well.

However, it does have a somewhat lychee-like appearance after peeling, which is one reason to compare both fruits.


With a tinge of tartness, the flavor of rambutan is primarily sweet. That’s why it is generally described as sweet and creamy.

Like dragon fruit, rambutan has a creamy texture and a strong scent. Whereas lychee is not as sweet or creamy. Rambutan also feels to be a little drier.

See? You have already found some similarities and differences.

Read on to know more!

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Rambutan vs Lychee: the Similarities

rambutan vs lychee
  • Both rambutan and lychee have creamy white flesh with glossy brown seeds in the core which makes it difficult to differentiate between the two.
  • They are all part of the same family of plants: the Sapindaceae.
  • Trees produce lychee and rambutan. Both trees’ leaves never lose their color.
  • The type of lychee or rambutan, as well as the soil in which it is grown, determines its color.
  • You can enjoy rambutan and lychee in many similar ways: as a snack, as an addition to your salad, in your morning smoothie.
  • Antioxidants, including polyphenols, as well as vitamins C and potassium, are abundant in both fruits, which mature from green to red pink.
  • They don’t require any preparation and can even be consumed directly.
  • Both prefer an environment with plenty of sunshine and no risk of frost. They can survive in either a tropical or subtropical climate.
  • Various juices, jams, syrups, and cocktails are all made with fruits, which are noted for their flavor.
  • The fruit should be kept on the tree until it is fully matured before picking it. Once the fruit has been plucked from the tree, it will no longer ripen.

Rambutan vs Lychee: the Differences

  • While both fruits have bumpy pinkish-red skin, rambutan’s hairs are flexible and electric orange and green in color, whilst lychees are not.
  • Compared to rambutans, lychees are smaller. The seeds of this plant are similarly very tiny.
  • Rambutan and lychee have distinct scents and levels of sweetness to the discerning soapberry fan.
  • The lychee’s exterior skin is tougher than the rambutan’s. It’s because of this quirk that the lychee’s outer sheath is so easily brittle.
  • A lychee tree can get rather large, though not as large as a rambutan tree.
  • Both fruits differ in the amount some nutritional calories. Rambutan has 123 calories per serving, while lychee has only 66 calories per serving.

Grab Some for Yourself Now!

Now you have got the results of rambutan Vs lychee debate. You should be able to differentiate between them from now on. Recall that they are really different from one another when it comes to their skin. But there are also many similarities.

And the most important one is that both of them are fantastic selections, delicious and healthy.

Since everyone’s tastes differ, it is highly recommended to conduct a taste test. It’s possible that you’ll prefer one over the other. Both fruits have similar nutritional profiles, so it may be a matter of convenience.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do rambutans taste like lychee?

Yes, they do have a similar taste. 

Is rambutan healthy to eat?

Yes, certainly. It’s full of vitamin C and plays a vital role in combating free radicals.

Is it OK to eat rambutan every day?

It’s recommended as its fiber and vitamin C are really good for your health.

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