Scary looking huh? That folks is what the Vietnamese call chôm chôm (sounds like ohm not Tom), you may know it as rambutan, or you may have no idea what the heck it is. Chôm chôm is a fruit that is grown in Southeast Asia, similar to lychees. The spiky outside is not edible and it has a seed in the middle, but what lies between the exterior and center is SO DANG GOOD. About the size of a golf ball, the flesh is white and firm with nuances of lychee, pear, and grape. Not super sweet but very refreshing.
You can find these sometimes in the states at International Grocery stores, if you happen to come across these pick up a few for a treat. To eat take a sharp paring knife and gently score the fruit in half, you can pop off a half and eat it as is, or plunk it in a bowl with a few others and feast away. You can also peel it with your fingers but the knife method is pretty quick. Alternatively there are canned options available, but they won’t compare to fresh. Since I didn’t grow up with these in the states, I don’t have much advice on picking good ones other than trusting your senses and making sure you pick deeply colored ones that are free of excessive rot/blackness. Rambutans aren’t quite as mainstream as lychees but they were dubbed as the ficticious “tico berry” in Ugly Betty’s 47th epsidoe “Ugly Berry“, and in my book I’d take rambutans over lychees any day.