My Life is Marked by Lychee Season

It strikes me every year. And I’m always surprised at how fast it comes and how it doesn’t feel like another year has passed. Without warning, one day, I see this.


Lychees are in season once a year, starting in mid-May and running through early June. They are grown in sub-tropical climates. I became accustomed to lychees when living in Northern Vietnam. Hai Duong, halfway between Hanoi and the coastal city of Haiphong, if famous for their lychee orchards. Each late spring, on our trips to Hanoi, we would stop in Hai Duong and buy the delectable fruit.

They have a hard outer, colorful shell that pops off with a little prying with the fingernail. The white fleshy inside is sweet and wonderful, with a large pit in the middle. We used to play the game of who can find the lychee with the smallest pit. We would eat huge quantities sometimes finding very tiny pits. A special variety of the lychee, highly sought after, are known for their small pits. That means more wonderfully sweet fruit flesh to enjoy.

Fresh lychee is up pretty high on my list of favorite fruits. But I only get them once a year, so they are special, and they mark the year in pronounced ways.

Lychees mean the school year is closing and summer is around the corner. It’s also a sobering reminder of how fast one year really goes.

Lychees, thanks for the reminders and the good eats. I’ll miss you when I’m no longer in Asia.

I break for lychee

Once every year. Late May – Early June. Lychee season. If you’ve never had them fresh, you are missing out on one of the earth’s best fruit. Incredibly juicy and sweet, with a small to medium size pit. Lychee is grown in sub-tropical, Asian climates like southern China and northern Vietnam, where I became acquainted with them.

When we lived in Haiphong from 1994-1997, during late May we would stop in Hai Duong province, conveniently tucked right in the middle between Haiphong and Hanoi. We would buy the precious fruit just picked earlier that day – especially the special variety with a tiny little pit. This, of course, always led to endless lychee eating games with the person with the smallest pit eventually being the winner. The smallest would sometimes be about half a size of a dime – tiny – which meant more luscious fruit in every bite.

They don’t grow them in Malaysia, but they arrive in limited quantity in our open markets. I’ve only seen them twice in the past two weeks. Here’s the ones I had yesterday. Simply wonderful – even though they ¬†were the large-pit variety.

So yesterday, my blog took a lychee break. Here they are: