What's That South Pacific Fruit? A Guide to Farmer's Markets You'll Find on South Pacific Cruises

On a South Pacific cruise you can try tropical fruits you might never have heard of, like rambutan
On a South Pacific cruise you can try tropical fruits you might never have heard of, like rambutan

Tahiti and South Pacific cruises always conjure images of warm beaches, palm trees, and a host of tropical foods. Trying new foods can be exciting, but it can be hard to figure out what you want and if it's the right choice for you.
While roaming through a local farmers market, you might get overwhelmed by the offerings of so many alien-looking fruits. Don't be too wary of these! Who knows? You might just find your new favorite fruit to eat while abroad, or devise a fantastic new cocktail in which you mix a few. Here's a guide to some of the tropical, South Pacific and Tahitian fruits you might encounter on while on your cruise.

Rambutan

These vibrant red (and sometimes yellow) fruits could almost be mistaken for Muppet characters, with long, stiff hairs that cover their exteriors. When in season, you can peel these gems apart with your thumbs to reveal an opaque, juicy fruit that surrounds a nut-like inner seed. You can pop the whole rambutan in your mouth, but eat around the hard seed in the center, as it is bitter and unpalatable. The fruit is the perfect combination of sweet and tart, and it's refreshing — think of a lime, watermelon, and grape combination. These fruits are eaten widely across Southeast Asia, and they can be consumed fresh, cooked in dishes, or used in jams. Don't wait too long to eat. They can spoil quickly.

Longan

This fruit of the South Pacific is sold in large quantities, and you’re almost sure to spot it at one of the local markets on your cruise. Longans are roughly the size of large marbles. When shelled, the fleshy, translucent fruits vaguely resemble eyeballs. Don't let their appearance scare you away — longans are sweet, succulent, and grape-like. When they're at their ripest, the hard shells are thin, and you can peel them open like small oranges.

Lychee

Lychees are popular fruits of Tahiti and elsewhere, often used in desserts, that instill a floral, sweet, yet tart flavor to foods. The fruit's casing is a pinkish-red, roughly textured, inedible rind that can be peeled to reveal its opaque white flesh. Lychees are sold fresh in markets, but they also come canned year-round and may be dried with their rinds intact.

Passion Fruit

This round South Pacific fruit can be a dark purple or yellow color, and it has a light taste reminiscent of mango- or guava. Passion fruit is often added to other juices to enhance their flavor. If you get a very ripe passion fruit, try this: Juice the fruit in a blender, strain the pulp, and drink up.