Rambutan - red spiky fruit Costa Rica
Oct 2014

Mamón Chino (Costa Rican Rambutan)

One of the great things about travel is finding things you have never seen before, much less tasted. To be fair, we had a wonderful guide in Costa Rica by way of ex-pat Andrea Fellman and she basically ran off the road when she saw a Mamón Chino stand. I did some googling and this red spiky tropical fruit goes by many names, officially “Rambutan” and sometimes called “mamoncillo,” which is technically a cousin. In Costa Rica, Panama and elsewhere in Central America, it goes by “Mamón Chino” because it is an Asian fruit and that phrase literally means “Chinese sucker.”

When Andrea showed us how to eat it, I thought she was crazy.

Mamon Chino - Costa Rican Rambutan Fruit

You simply poke your finger into the red skin and crack it open. (To be honest, I started using my teeth – but probably not the best idea.)

Mamon Chino - Costa Rican Rambutan Fruit

Once you have an opening, the thick skin easily slips off, leaving behind a soft, semi-gelatinous ball. It tasted a little bit fruit, a little bit gummy bear, all delicious!

Mamon Chino - Costa Rican Rambutan Fruit

P.S. Warning! There is a nutty seed in the center of the fruit that I did not get a pic of. Watch your teeth!

P.P.S. Big thanks to my hand model, Kim Tracy Prince.

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  1. We love Mamon Chino season here in Costa Rica! Yes, there is a Mamon Chino season, the fall/ rainy season is when you see them everywhere, but then they go away in the summer / dry season.

  2. Wow, that is NOT what I would have expected to be in the middle of that thing! How cool!

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  4. vane

    I think your translation of Mamon chino to Chinese sucker is incorrect
    It is called that way because of Melicoccus bijugatus usually called Mamon, so because the fruit is similar they called that way , the correct translation would be Chinese “Spanish lime”

    It is true that mamon could mean sucker in some contexts, but in this case is just the name of a fruit.

  5. Joanne

    Just got back from my third trip to Costa Rica. We eat those all the time when we go there. They’re called mamones or mamon. Tastes very similar to a green grape. Delicious!

  6. Don Meadows

    Can you order Mamon Chino from the United States.Was in Costa Rica last summer & fell in love with it & miss it.

    • Aimee

      I have never seen them here in the States! I would love to get them though. My best guess would be some place like Whole Foods.