The first time I had fresh, not canned, lychee was in England. My friend A. and I were staying in London and walked through the big Soho street market. I don't think I would have recognized them (or realized that they were particularly worth trying), but A. spent her formative years in India and knew them in a second. We bought a huge bag and ate them all week long. They are crazy delicious: juicy and sweet and perfumed and like some wacky fruit-mollusk under their spiny skin, which is incidentally extremely easy to peel off.
Since then, I've had some trouble finding them again, and so I haven't eaten any in years. So imagine my delight when they appeared this week at Trader Joe's, brought all the way from Taiwan for my eating pleasure. S. says he doesn't really like them -- the weirdo -- but even so I don't imagine they'll last to Monday. How I wish I could also get my hands on the fruits A. and her mother tell me they really loved in India. Not just the many many different varieties of mango (but CERTAINLY those), but also rambutan, which looks a lot like a spikier, tribble-ish lychee, and custard apple. I've just recently learned that all the best sources for Indian food around here are in Parma, OH. Maybe when we make a trip we'll discover a fabulous source for black-market fruit! A girl can dream, anyhow.