25 Aug2009


I completely disagree that all things “luxurious” must necessarily be outrageously expensive, highly uncommon, and available to the the lucky few. Can you really have something luxurious for just one dollar or 50 pesos? I think so. Take this 1.5 kilos of incredibly fresh and ripe rambutans that we purchased at the Nasugbu market last weekend. It must be the height of rambutan season, so the prices were just PHP30 per kilo or so. More information on rambutans in a previous post, here.


Back home, I stacked the rambutans in a conical shape on a footed distressed wooden footed stand that was purchased years ago as a factory second from a local exporter. It looked absolutely brilliant as a table centerpiece and it was edible to boot! The color, freshness and shape of the arrangement certainly didn’t seem cheap. But for $1 or PHP50, not too shabby at all.


We encourage guests to help themselves to drinks, fruit and snacks at the beach, so it’s always nice to leave a bowl nearby for peels and whatnot. It is amazing how many people, including kids, given this bowl, choose one or two fruit, peel them and enjoy them between meals, while sitting around chatting, or just in passing…


Enjoying local fruit at the peak of its season, with friends and family, THAT to me is a real luxury. :)

P.S. Clear out the dregs from the bowl as often as possible, no one really wants to view decaying fruit discards…



  1. betty q. says:

    MM!….ohhhhhh…don’t discard that thingey LAST PICTURE! That would make a nice shell for maybe like a PINEAPPLE SORBET!!!! or even better …TRIO OF SORBET!!!! now there is also luxury! Don’t you think so?

    Aug 25, 2009 | 12:48 am


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  3. moni says:

    Yes, it is the onset of rambutan season, as well as mangosteen, lanzones, santol and marang. Lately, our small fruit farm has yielded a bumper crop of these fruits so it is hard to decide which fruit to eat first given the abundance of these tropical fruits at home. We have given them away to friends and colleagues but there’s a lot more. MM, one day soon I must try your santol preserves recipe.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 12:52 am

  4. brownedgnat says:

    A drive to Tiaong, Quezon during my visit back in late July gave me an opportunity to savor early season Rambutans. A little on the tart side but yummy nevertheless.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 1:30 am

  5. natie says:

    ooohhh—now, those fruits are what i really, really miss…betty q, i know you have those in chinatown there. i ate like a squirrel before wintertime, last July, when we were in Toronto. first stop, Chinatown for ALL those fruits Moni mentioned above…Moni, i spent so much money there, but it was all worth it..i didn’t even have to tip like GMA for all the good food.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 1:59 am

  6. ted says:

    I was just at Seafood City yesterday and perusing the frozen fruit freezer section where they have these frozen rambutans at $3.99 per lb or $8/kilo. Frozen once cannot compare to the fresh ones you have in the picture. I wonder why all the fruits Moni mentioned are available fresh in Canada, but not here in the U.S.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 2:49 am

  7. pinay in dutchland says:

    I love Rambutan. Whenever its Rambutan season, my dad would bring lots of it in my apartment during college, like one whole kaing. We have a small farm in the Southern Tagalog area and one of the trees is Rambutan. I like eating it until the crispy covering, when only the smooth seed will be left.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 3:03 am

  8. marcial bonifacio says:

    now that is LUXURY, without the GUILT.
    nice rambutans, one of the best things Philippines can offer.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 4:18 am

  9. Len says:

    I was at seafood city also last week. Aside from Frozen they also had fresh but it was $6/lb and it looks all dried up.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 5:11 am

  10. Martin L. says:

    HI MM, Here in New York City China Town $9 a pound and its not even sweet!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 5:59 am

  11. moni says:

    Natie and Ted, our rambutans are the best variety from Bangkok which are yellow green in color. What luxury are those fruits there, as Marcial wrote. No wonder, my sisters from San Francisco are coming home for a visit this week, primarily to pick lanzones from our Ormoc farm. This visit took 2 years in the making coz rambutan and lanzones bear fruits every other year. Despite the rains and wind (read: typhoons), the fruits are still there. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there will be no extreme weather event on our lanzones and rambutan picking day.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 6:12 am

  12. betty q. says:

    Ok…MOni, now I know how HOmer Simposon feels…drooling over doughnuts! I am drooling over your lanzones and santol. Can I come visit you in 2011?

    Aug 25, 2009 | 6:30 am

  13. kakusina says:

    Went to Liliw Saturday. On the road going to San Pablo they were selling rambutan at P25/kilo and the biggest/sweetest cost P100 for 3 kilos. I also bought spectacularly fresh and green pako for P25/big bundle. Simple dressing of vinegar, salt and sugar, added chopped tomatoes, onions and salted eggs. Yum!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 6:35 am

  14. sanojmd says:

    i just love rambutan..

    Aug 25, 2009 | 6:38 am

  15. betty q. says:

    I have to make pasingit to Doc, MM…pasensiya na…something not right with my e-mail!…Doc, sa iyo ko na ipapamana ang aking TUPPERWARE! I am decluttering…rcipes you cannot use, bahala ka na. Now that you are retired, you can bake, bake , bake! I have no daughters that I can make pamana to them…sons not interested…grandughters?…don’t know if they will follow in my footsteps when the time comes!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 7:02 am

  16. cumin says:

    Learned something new today from moni, that rambutan and lanzones bear fruit only every other year. I suppose the trees deserve the rest after hard labour feeding and pleasing us!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 8:05 am

  17. Quillene says:

    Again, a favorite fruit of mine next to atis, chico and sineguelas, and suha, and lansones, and… hehehe…

    Have a great day, everyone!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 8:14 am

  18. betty q. says:

    Thelma: if you still have an abundance of tomatoes esp. romas or large cherry tomatoes, search MM’s archives for semi-dried tomatoes. I roasted mine at high heat for 1/2 hour then lowered the oven temp. to 325 and cotinued roasting until shriveled but still moist. I took me close to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Then pack it in an herby olive oil with bay leaves, whole peppercorns thyme and what have you!

    Then, when it is aged, make Red Pesto with your faux sun-dried tomatoes. In a food processor, put ahandful of your oven dried tomatoes, then add about a half a handful of oil cured black olives (you can buy at Safeway or Italian deli, pitted!…about 1/2 cup roasted pine nuts, 2 tsp. sugar, 2 tsp. white wine vinegar or even champagne vinegar, pepper, half a head of peeled garlic,about 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, a few basil leaves and italian flat leaf parsley. Give it a whirl and adjust seasoning. I just made some and need to make more for my kapit bahays! It tastes just like the Red Pesto hubby’s friend brought over from his trip to Italy. I don’t need to make tipid anymore the one he got as pasalubong!

    Nice spread on baguette slices or in pastas.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:02 am

  19. net says:

    oh,betty q, im a big fan of yours.Can you make all of us pamana your recipes also?i find your recipes easy and doable.please post more of them before you discard them.thanks!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:25 am

  20. betty q. says:

    Oh, forgot again! Thelma…if too thick, then thin it out with some of the herby olive oil you had the dried tomatoes soaking in.

    Put in tiny jars, then give it away for Christmas!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:25 am

  21. natie says:

    Moni, you are so blessed…Ted, USDA is so strict, we can’t enjoy tropical fruits the way pinoys in Canada do..they guard against pest and disease infestations maybe…

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:28 am

  22. Bubut says:

    in Laguna, its very cheap, when you go around UPLB, its free as the fruit is just falling from the tree. MM, you should see the yellow variety of rambutan. Its already ripe but the color is still yellow, very sweet also and juicy. You can put a side by side cone display, red and yellow.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:35 am

  23. Connie C says:

    betty Q, swinging bv again, MM, sorry. Have had my eyes glued on ebay for the best bargain on the KithenAid artisan mixer, so my ensaymada dough will not climb up on my Krups. Missed the special at Macy’s over the weekend and I am mad.
    Yes, yes , yes to the tupperware. How large a collection? I may need to deposit them at the Library of Congress. Maybe it can be compiled into something….a fundraiser for MM’s feeding program? Make sure the Pony Express arrives. On second thought pls email for details before I accept. I do not want to be greedy, but thank you for thinking of me. Hope you are not decluttering so hastily.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:41 am

  24. moni says:

    Betty Q, sure you can come over to Ormoc in early Sept. 2011. in fact, Toping can also visit because we live on the same island of Leyte. Cumin, yes, the rambutan and lanzones trees in Ormoc bear a lot of fruits every other year. I’m not sure about those in Paete, Davao and Camiguin. Let’s hear from Millet on this. So today I brought a large shopping bag of lanzones to give to my university students. I put the bag of lanzones on the classroom desk as a carrot before I gave them a long to-do list. My afternoon class will get Bangkok santol.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:42 am

  25. yel says:


    Sorry to post this here. But thank you so much for taking time to search for my comments. And I so appreciate the gesture. My bad about the email thing, I did send comments and not emails pala. I just taught of mentioning those to substantiate my premise. Kudos to you for being the voice of other customers.

    I am out of the country right now; burning the mindnight oil. But I will surely get some info from you or from your resto reviews when I go back to Pinas. God bless and take care!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:49 am

  26. Marketman says:

    yel, you are most welcome. :)

    Aug 25, 2009 | 9:56 am

  27. joyce says:

    ohh great tip on the roasted tomatoes from betty q! will have to write that down. love the first pic of the rambutans, looks pretty and delish.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 10:10 am

  28. betty q. says:

    Doc…you must have FACTORY OUTLETS there, don’t you?…might be able to save on shipping though some sellers on e-bay offer free shipping.

    Thelma, I cleaned my inbox without checking for I was too sleepy back then. Then to my horror,,,your address was in there. I asked my son if I can retrieve it..He said…too late! So, I just sent you the ensaymada recipe a few minutes ago. But can you send me your address again for the package? So, you can practice before you go home and buy the ensaymada moulds at Divisoria. I don’t know exactly the name of the store. It is in the section of kitchen wares. I know I just kept on walking until I found it.

    Bluegirl…please send me your e-mail addy again. Pasensiya na…hay, mahirap ang inaantok while on the computer! Oh, Thelma, maybe you can forward it to bluegirl?..save me from typing!..hahahahah

    MM, maybe you can enlighten Thelma where to go?

    Aug 25, 2009 | 10:37 am

  29. solraya says:

    I can eat tons of the tuklapin type of Rambutan. The one that peels off easily.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 11:09 am

  30. bagito says:

    wow, Moni, how I wish I had teachers like you when I was still in school. free lanzones and bangkok santol? lucky bums! ;-)

    bettyq, I cut and paste your above recipe into a Word document, I’m sure before long makakaipon na ko ng madaming recipes mo. your sons are still young so they might be late bloomers when it comes to inheriting your passion for cooking and baking.

    also, I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times but you really should produce your very own cookbook! dami mo nang potential customers dito pa lang. :-)

    Aug 25, 2009 | 11:15 am

  31. betty q. says:

    Sad to say, Bagito, my sons just love to eat only…not make them!

    And no, bagito, I CANNOT go into producing a cookbook…personal reason …a promise I made about 9 years ago to the ALMIGHTY which I intend to keep. Howver, I think HE won’t hold it against me if I contribute together with Sister, Artisan,ChrisB an others to MM in putting out his COMMUNITY COOKBOOK for proceeds will go to a worhy cause…should MM decide to go with it!….your cookbook is looooong overdue, MM!

    Imagine, MM…your credentials with having THE BEST PIG EVER…your cookbook will fly off the shelves!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 11:46 am

  32. betty q. says:

    Here’s trivia…a site called sundaytimes.lk….rambutan means in Malay Language, “hairy man of the jungle” and traces its origins in Malaysia. The article notes that the fruit was brought over to Malaysia by the Portuguese.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 11:57 am

  33. sonnysj says:

    lucky for me to have a rambutan tree in my yard. pitas lang ako pag gusto ko kumain.
    passersby, especially children with their “panungkit” have a great time picking fruits hanging outside the yard. i can’t complain, that is exactly what i did growing up in the province – raid the neighbor’s fruit bearing trees when no one was looking.
    I live in antipolo and my rambutan tree bears fruits yearly.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 1:03 pm

  34. farida says:

    I don’t think I have eaten rambutan before but I certainly have seen them in Oriental stores. I love lychees, do they taste like them? It will be lanzones season soon and friends and I are going to Chinatown in Vancouver to gorge ourselves. I know, they get lots of tropical fruits over North of the border.
    bettyq, thanks for that tip of making the pesto and giving for Christmas. Wonderful idea. Is there an ensaymada recipe aomewhere? Is it short and easy. My aunt’s recipe takes me the whole day to do, so I haven’t made it for several years now.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 1:03 pm

  35. betty q. says:

    Farida…tell me when you plan on going here. Give me a few days notice so I can make ensaymadas for you to take back home to Custer and bake them the day you are going here so they are freshly made. My carpal tunnel is really bugging me so I would rather do it hand written than type. I will include it on the box when you get here. I hope yoou have the ensaymada moulds. You know, to save time…I do it the way Sister advised me to do. I do the dough the night before…let it rise in the fridge…take it out at 6 a.m. (time hubby gets up everyday) and by 7a.m., I am ready toshape them. When the boys come home from school, there are ensaymadas waiting for them.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 1:17 pm

  36. ENYA says:

    Rambutan is my super favorite fruit! I’ve been buying and eating about half a kilo everyday for the past couple of weeks. YUM!!!

    The market is also flooded with other fruits right now–santol, atis, mangoes, guavas, bananas, pineapples, mangosteen, etc., etc., not to mention the imported grapes, oranges, apples, longan, dreagon fruits, etc., etc! Even saw Camachile and and ripe sampaloc in Quiapo market. And they’re sooo cheap!

    I love living in the PHILIPPINES!:)

    Aug 25, 2009 | 1:40 pm

  37. betty q. says:

    Joyce: I just followed MM’s guide to oven roasted tomatoes…can’t rely on the sun nowadays to dry them…roasted them a bit longer to get the consistency I want…not to dry and not too soft either. I wanted just a tad softer than the store bought sundried tomatoes. Play around with the consistency you want.

    If mangoes and guavas can grow in Mexico, I wonder if lanzones can grow there…

    Thelma….the garlic in the Red Pesto…half a small head of garlic. I used the small head I had kasi nakakahiya ipamigay. I gave the large heads of garlic and large Kelsae onion bulbs away.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 4:06 pm

  38. millet says:

    sadly, this seems to ba another not-so-good year for davao’s fruits. the rains started early and we had a wet summer, so even during kadayawan (thanksgiving) week when the streets were supposed to be flooded with fruit, there were very few, and expensive, to boot.

    Aug 25, 2009 | 6:35 pm

  39. marilen says:

    feels great to be in the middle of such wonderful,delicious and informative chatter – thank you MM and to all!

    Aug 25, 2009 | 7:59 pm

  40. deirdregurl says:

    ms. millet that is so true. in fact i was wondering how come there were fewer durian during kadayawan? and do you know that i was able to purchase durian for 90/kg, quite expensive when it should be around 40-60/kg at this time of the year..

    btw, i didn’t know you owned pala Lachi’s. i love, love your cheesecakes so whenever my hubby & i are in the vicinity we order some to go :D the dessert buffet you did for my friend’s wedding was so yummy. i asked the hubby to get a second serving–naubos na hehe

    Aug 25, 2009 | 8:02 pm

  41. faye says:

    Santol also is in season, the bangkok variety. P10 only per kilo at mahogany market in tagaytay.

    Aug 26, 2009 | 1:39 am

  42. ted says:

    ConnieC, i got my KitchenAide at Kohl’s last black friday. If you want to wait 3 more months you might get them at a bargain price or $200 off. Thelma and Farida,trust me BettyQ’s ensaymada recipe is a keeper, but have to warn you that once you start making them, never never never give them to your relatives,,,you’ll be sorry you did, lol.

    So if rambutans and lanzones only fruits every other year, you have to have an even and an odd year tree to get them yearly? I did notice that my only apple tree although it fruits every year, has given me a small amount one year, then an abundant amount the following year.

    Aug 26, 2009 | 2:54 am

  43. Farida says:

    Thank you so much for the offer, bettyq. I will certainly let you know when we are going there. Might be end of September. Isn’t that the time the lanzones from Thailand come in. It was about that time last year. My brother and sil from NJ and their dtrs from CA went over to Vanc. just to have some. He said he timed his vacation for the lanzones:). I will be looking forward to trying your recipe. I do have the molds which I got in SM Cebu a few years ago. You make it sound so doable.

    Aug 26, 2009 | 3:15 am

  44. kiko says:

    nothing beats fruits (& vegies) in season…

    Rambutan is one of my favourites…although the price downunder is a bit steep even for locally grown varieties i am grateful that i have access to it when in season…

    Aug 26, 2009 | 4:10 am

  45. betty q. says:

    Farida and Thelma: you guys better heed Ted’s advise! You will really be sorry and maybe even sisihin ninyo pa ako…like Oh, that Betty Q! …what did she get me into!….ahhahaha…Ted, get this! You know now the work involved. That is why I only do it for my family. One day, my youngest went went to my friend to get a haircut. He came home and told me that she did not charge him and instead told him to tell me to replace it with ensaymadas for she knew that is the only way I will be forced to make it. Spo, next time, I told him to INSIST on paying and just tell her I will give her some next time I make them!

    Oh, I have already seen the Thailand lanzones at the big Asian stores here.

    Kiko: the price of lanzones here is about $5.99 perpound! One bunch is about more or less $10. Now, the way I see it, I cannot eat my $10.00. Besides, I earned or rather my hubby earned the $10.00. So, in a way, I equate it to PHP 10 for 1 bunch. I know my logic is weird!

    Aug 26, 2009 | 4:46 am

  46. Connie C says:

    Thanks for the info Ted.,but I might be able to get the artisan mixer on ebay for less. there is quite a few for the bidding…if I can get it at the right price.

    Aug 26, 2009 | 6:16 am

  47. thelma says:

    thanks, bettyq. i just read your email and thanks for the wonderful recipes. i will be sending you my address, and don’t forget to give me yours as well, okay? yes, i still have good tomatoes coming out from my garden. thanks for
    all the great ideas on what to do with them. i intend to enjoy homegrown tomatoes, hopefully until past winter dried and canned.

    i was so surprised to see rambutan fruits being served at the buffet restaurant of wynn’s hotel in las vegas when we stayed there for a few days last year. i don’t remember how many i ate… but a lot!!!

    Aug 26, 2009 | 9:42 am

  48. bagito says:

    betty q, i cannot argue with that. a promise is a promise, esp. sa Almighty pa mandin. however, your community cookbook idea is a diff story. kulitin natin si MM, Sister, Artisan, etc! hehehe.

    Aug 26, 2009 | 11:36 am

  49. betty q. says:

    Hay, Farida…if you come here end of September, wala ka ng maaabutan na lanzones. It is peak of the season here now! I just blew quite a bit of moola today buying lanzones. I figured I just enjoy this fruit once a year. I think I know what to ask hubby for anniversary present ….a KAING OF LANZONES beats any BLING!!!!

    Aug 26, 2009 | 12:34 pm

  50. rhea says:

    my uncles came by roro from bacolod through panay island and mindoro and batangas… they bought rambutans at 25/kilo and we ate the 3-kilo lot through the night they arrived, even though it was past midnight already. yummy!

    Aug 26, 2009 | 10:36 pm

  51. bluegirl says:

    Hi BettyQ, my email is ireneuy@netzero.net
    I also sent you an email. Hopefully, it would go through this time.

    Or maybe Thelma can forward your email to save you from typing.

    Thank you!

    Aug 27, 2009 | 1:31 pm

  52. Gener says:

    My small kid is crying early this morning and asking for rambutan.(an exotic and rare fruit in this country) i cant help but buy for him even the price is way expensive at US$25 per kg…Now i am dreaming of what i used to pick and eat this fruit in the philippines many years ago, i simply take it from the backyard or harvest it from the forest! and its free!!!

    Aug 27, 2009 | 3:28 pm

  53. millet says:

    moni, almost all of davao’s lanzones trees were infected by a virus or fungus (am not sure which) last year, so the few lanzones that we see around are either from the survivors, or most likely from outside davao.

    deirdregurl, we’ve had two fruiting seasons with our two durian trees in the backyard this year, but they were too watery and lacked flavor. again, most likely from too much rain. last week, a branch with four fruits of one kilo each broke off during a heavy rain. sayang, they were too young and therefore still inedible. we’re having all the fruit trees pruned next week.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 9:31 am

  54. chris says:

    if there’s rambutan, lanzones couldnt be far away. lanzones is a favorite and i could eat kilos and kilos of it without sharing. sometimes, when its off season in laguna, the fruit vendors would source the lanzones else where, but its not as sweet. we would peel lots of rambutan and cool it in the ref. then just snack on it like candies, pabalik-balik sa ref. pag ubos na, unahan sa juice na naiwan sa container at hihigupin. sarrap. real cooler for an august summer.

    Aug 28, 2009 | 7:52 pm

  55. psychomom says:

    bettyq, i know you are big into gardening, maybe next year i can email you for some tips. my husband recently got interested in it but too late na. it is getting cooler na. i was also gifted with an old but usable composting barrel. my plan is to get some earthworms to speed the process. hopefully next year i will have healthy soil. thanks in advance.

    Sep 11, 2009 | 1:46 am

  56. millet says:

    by some miracle, less than three weeks after i wrote about the dearth of fruit in davao this season, right now davao is awash with fruit! durian, rambutan and lanzones are spilling all over davao’s streets, and they’re very very cheap! mangosteen is still expensive, but am optimistic they’ll be tumbling all over the place in a couple of months.

    Sep 14, 2009 | 7:19 pm


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