With a lychee in her small eager hands,
her five senses played like a marching band.
Juicy and sweet it went,
it was to her heart’s content.
No wonder lychees are in big demand.
WHAT ARE LYCHEES?
… They are the fruit of a Chinese tree. Depending on the harvest for the year, you typically see this fruit available in HK June to mid-July.
Let me tell you – they are de-lish! Certified yummy in your tummy and divine. Sweet, and juicy with a refreshing summer taste to them. When you get them in the supermarket chains, they’re packaged up, but in the wet markets, you can taste them first before buying and they’re have more varieties of lychee to choose from. Hence, one should always get them at the wet markets if one can make it to a wet market before its closing time.
HOW DO YOU EAT THEM?
Point blank – They require more work than an apple before ready for consumption, but well worth it. The juices are very sweet so they make your hands all sticky when you peel them so it’s an “undivided attention activity”. I usually batch peel, and then sit down to enjoy the fruits of my labour.
Dig your fingernail into the top centre, and you should then be able to break open the lychee skin easily. Optimal number for one serving is around 15, so peel 15 lychee into a bowl, quickly rinse it with water to wash any tiny shell remnants, and voila! Time to enjoy.
Warning: there’s a pit like that of a cherry pit, so expect to bite something hard inside.
TYPES AND VARIETIES:
There are many varieties of lychee, with differing availability cycles and the two I was able to get today are 桂味 (Gwei May) & 糯米糍 (Loh May Chee)
WHICH ONE TO GET?
TIP: If you go to a wet market, ask the seller for a sample and most will happily oblige. If they don’t, well, you might not want to buy from them… because they’re not nice!
Size & Pit:
Loh May Chee is bigger in size, and both their pits are small relative to their size and the amount of meat.
Loh May Chee has a juicy, lighter, and more tart taste. The meat is also more airy-fairy. On the other hand, Gwei May has a denser meat, is sweeter and has the traditional lychee taste that one would taste in syrup lychees in a can.
The Loh May Chee(s) were 20HKD per pound with the stems attached and the Gwei May(s) were 12HKD per pound without the stems. There will be some prices discrepancies between fruit grannies at the wet market and locations so shop around your local wet market for the best deal on the best lychees possible.
Storage is the same method for both varieties of lychee.
HK is humidcity, especially in the summer months. Warm & and moist environments… hmmm… perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. Everything here rots and grows moldy at astonishing rates so you need put in place preventative measures to increase the lifetime of your lychees.
It’s very easy. Newspaper. Yup, that’s it. Wrap the lychees in newspaper before placing into a bag and toss them into the crisper of the fridge. The newspaper will soak up all the moisture which will keep the mold at bay – I was able to keep my lychees fresh for 7-10 days.
The lady told me at the market that Gwei May will be unavailable around mid June, whereas, Loh May Chee will be available till the end of June.
Aiya… Just eat them! Lychee’s have a short duration of availability and to be honest, both and any variety are dayum good.
A taste test with a sample size of 2 yielded no consensus. I personally liked the Gwei May but my cousin liked the Loh May Chee. So… go get some and tell us which one you like better!