Lychee may be small in size, but it is big in flavor!
The white, semitransparent flesh with a hard red shell is a staple in Asian cuisine. It is sweet and juicy with an enticing floral fragrance. Moreover, its delicious reputation is spreading around the globe.
Lychees could be called the “popcorn” of fruit. Once you start eating them, it isn’t easy to stop.
We know that lychees make a fantastic on-the-go snack and complement a fruit salad perfectly. Yet, this tasty exotic fruit can be used in desserts, milkshakes, ice cream, and cocktails, to name a few.
Keep reading to learn about this exciting exotic fruit, what lychee tastes like, and its incredible health benefits. (*)
What Does a Lychee Taste Like?
|Lychee Flavor||Taste Rating (1-10)|
The fragrant lychee is sweet with subtle floral and acidic notes. Some have suggested a floral flavor with a touch of rose. You can expect the taste to resemble a strawberry or pear with a hint of citrus.
It has a smooth and slightly chewy texture. Oh, and the best part is the burst of juice with every bite.
We know lychee may be different for everyone’s taste. On the other hand, when we show you what delicious treats you can make with lychee. You may change your mind.
What is Lychee Fruit Exactly?
Lychee hails from the Kwangtang and Fukien provinces in southern China. It belongs to the soapberry fruit family (Sapindaceae) and grows in clusters on trees and shrubs. (*)
The lychee tree can grow up to 100 feet (30 meters) and produce up to 20 clusters of fruit. Some lychee varieties can easily be potted.
Each fruit can reach a size of 1-2 inches (2.5 – 5cm). Lychee’s exterior is oval-shaped, hard, and red.
Today, lychees grow commercially in several countries, including China, India, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Africa, Mauritius, and the US.
They are also known as the “Queen of Exotic Fruit” in Asia as they are pretty expensive. In general, lychees are costly worldwide.
Are Lychees Good for you?
Lychees contain a decent amount of vitamins, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B3 and B12
Which helps maintain healthy skin cells. In addition, they are high in vitamin C, making them a great immune booster.
You can expect to find essential minerals and antioxidants, such as:
Certainly, the above list is impressive, giving lychee a chance to make the superfood list.
With this said, lychees are high in sugar. So, as delicious and nutritious as they are, we recommend eating them in moderation, especially if you have sugar-sensitive diet requirements.
5 Varieties of Lychees
We will be comparing five different varieties of lychee to determine which one is best for each type of taste.
1. Brewster – sweet, slightly tangy
One of the larger varieties, about 2 inches (5cm) in size. The outer shell is a unique purple-red, and the flesh has a similar texture to grapes. Brewsters have a single pit.
2. Emperor – sweet with passionfruit and grape notes
The name says it all! Emperor lychees meet the Brewster in size. It has a red outer shell and a single pit. Some have suggested they are so delicious you may overindulge.
3. Mauritius – sweet, lightly tart with hints of strawberry, citrus, grapes, and watermelon
The Mauritius lychee bursts with flavor. The out shell is red, and it has a single pit. The tartness is balanced well with sweetness.
4. Sweet Heart ™ – strong floral meets rosy flavor, low tartness
A super juicy and delicious lychee variety. It has a red outer shell and a single small pit.
5. Kwai Mai Pink – extremely sweet and juicy
The Kwai Mai Pink lychee is high on the sweet factor. The outer shell is red, and it has a single pit. Ideal for those with an extra sweet tooth.
It’s hard to choose just one variety as the best-tasting lychee overall! Each type of lychee has its own unique flavor that can satisfy a different need or taste.
For example, Brewster is perfect for those looking for something sweet but not too sweet, while Emperor provides a perfect balance between sweet and tartness in desserts or fruit salads.
If you’re looking for an exotic flavor experience, Mauritius offers its complex blend of flavors and Sweet Heart ™ adds sweetness without being cloying thanks to its rosy undertones.
Finally, if you are after ultra-sweetness in your fruit plate, Kwai Mai Pink is your go-to choice.
5 Delicious Ways to Eat Lychee
While we can quickly devour an entire box of lychees, there are various ways to make irresistible treats and meals.
Lychee Vanilla Milkshake
Simple, quick, and delicious! Place a cup or two of vanilla ice cream in your blender. Add a handful of peeled and pitted lychees.
Then, start with a cup of milk and blend. Add less or more milk to reach your desired consistency. For an extra touch, add a dash of vanilla extract.
Whether you make your own at home or go for a night out, consider a lychee martini or any lychee-based cocktail. Lychee pairs well with watermelon and lime.
So, get your mixology kit and experiment.
A terrific and healthy snack. Put a few spoons of double-cream plain yogurt in your snack bowl. Peel and pit a few lychees and toss them in. (*)
Sprinkle with cinnamon and seeds or muesli. If you have mango and pineapple, you can add these too. In particular, the pineapples’ sharp, tart taste balances out the sweetness of the lychee.
Moving onto a savory dish with a sweet touch. Peel and pit your lychees and finely dice them.
In a mixing bowl, put some avocado, cilantro, and onion.
Add the diced lychees and fresh lime juice to taste. A pinch of salt will not hurt and will balance the flavors.
Sizzling Lychee Stir-fry
Lychee complements pork, chicken, and shrimp exceptionally well. So next time you make your favorite, stir fry with these ingredients.
Consider adding a few peeled and pitted chopped lychees to the mix. We recommend a soy base sauce to complement the stir-fry flavors.
And it doesn’t stop here!
We suggest you exercise caution when allowing children to get involved with the peeling and eating lychees.
Bonus Tip: How to Peel Lychees quickly?
Peeling lychees can be a messy and sticky affair. However, it is worth it when you get to the thick, white, semitransparent fruit.
The best way to peel and pit lychee is by following these steps:
- Using a sharp knife, gently split the outer shell in any place
- Use your fingers to pull the skin off
- The skin should come off in a few pieces
- Gently pull the flesh away from the pit and throw the pit away
You can use your fingers to create an opening before peeling. Even so, using a sharp knife eliminates juice splashing out.
We love the idea of grabbing a box of lychees and sitting on a picnic blanket with the children in the garden.
Gently bite the skin open in a spot, peel, pit, and enjoy in the summer sun.
Finally Fruity Thought
If you are still wondering what a lychee taste like. Pop into your local supermarket or farmers market and let your palate be the judge. Undoubtedly, lychee is a fun and exciting exotic fruit to try.
We would love to hear about any delicious lychee treats you create. Let us know!