Havelock Road Fruit Market.

It’s July and rambutan season is just kicking off – those of us who are fans can be seen flocking the pavement of Havelock Road near the BRC Grounds, asking the aiyyas to stuff plastic bags with red and green fruit.

Rambutan is believed to have been brought from Malaysia to Sri Lanka by the Portugese; they’re usually grown in Malwana, Galle, Gampaha, Kandy and Colombo itself.

What You’ll Find

Jayaratne knows he’s fabulous

Along with rambutan, you can also find mangosteen and durian stalls on this stretch. On my visit I came upon Kumudu and Jayaratne, two extremely jovial individuals at the rambutan end of the street. Jayaratne demanded I take a photograph of him and Kumudu started pimping out the other fruits on the stretch as well – would I like some durian?

Stinky old clothes disguised as fruits

Hell no. ‘Gandhai!’ I told him. Harima gandhai (no offense to durian lovers, it’s an acquired taste I guess, an acquired taste for stinky old clothes… oh and fun fact, this stuff is apparently an aphrodisiac, what!). He disagreed, but happily indulged my request for a bunch of mangosteens.

Price

Prices for Rambutan are around Rs. 10 per fruit.

The rambutan posse

Havelock Road’s Laurel and Hardy were such fun to hang out with – they cracked jokes about each other’s photo-poses, Jayaratne’s pride was hurt when I called him ‘uncle’ and they mumbled ‘boru’ when I told them I was Sri Lankan just to get a reaction out of me (which they did).

Quality

The rambutans were medium-sized and very red and tasty – they should be getting bigger and better in July, said Jayaratne – but the mangosteens were way juicier. So head out there at the end of this month for the best ones, and bag some before the season ends in August.

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