Lychee tastes like a fusion of sweetness and tartness that will remind you of other well-known fruits, such as strawberries, grapes, and watermelon. But lychee also has a delicate floral aroma that adds depth to its flavor.
What Is Lychee?
Lychee, scientifically known as Litchi chinensis, is a tropical fruit native to China. Lychee fruit has an oblong shape and rough, bumpy skin that ranges from pinkish-red to dark purple. When you crack open the shell, you’ll find tender, translucent white meat that surrounds a brown seed. It is a treat to the tastebuds and also loaded with nutrients.
The taste of lychee is a refreshing balance of sweetness and slight tartness. The initial flavor that hits your tongue is a sweet, grape-like taste. This sweetness is then followed by a faint, rose-like undertone, adding a floral hint to its overall flavor profile. The slight tartness, like that of a citrus fruit, hits in the end.
When you bite into lychee fruit, the first thing you notice is the juicy, gelatinous consistency of the flesh. The texture is like the texture of a peeled grape. The combination of juiciness and firmness gives lychee its enjoyable mouthfeel. The inner portion near the seed may have a more fibrous texture.
Fruit Similar to Lychee
If you’re looking for fruits that share a similar flavor profile with lychee, there are several options to consider.
Rambutan is another tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. It offers a sweet-tart flavor similar to lychee, along with a similar texture. Rambutan doesn’t have the floral undertones of lychee. Rambutan also has a more hairy and spiky skin compared to lychee’s smoother, bumpy skin.
Longan is often referred to as “dragon’s eye,” and it hails from the same family as lychee. It has a musky sweetness with no tartness. It is earthier and less fragrant than lychee. Longans are smaller and have a smoother, tan-colored skin than lychee.
The pulp of the passion fruit is more tart than lychee, but it has a tropical, aromatic flavor like the floral undertones in lychee. Passion fruit’s pulp is filled with many black seeds that provide a crunchy texture amidst its juicy pulp.