I was gifted a generous bag full of my ruby-skinned treasures.
No, not quite true. This is the point at which I remembered to stop eating and take a quick pic.
These are some of the nicest lychees I've ever eaten in Australia. They're almost as nice as the ones from Dodo-Land.
You see, I grew up with lychees in Dodo-Land. Everyone in Dodo-Land loves lychees. When it's lychee season, people harvest them quickly. Otherwise there's a good chance they'll get "harvested" in the dead of night.
In Dodo-Land, people appear on street corners with shallow, wide panniers filled with lychees that are still attached to their small branches and leaves - the result of quick, expert cuts with blunt, ancient sickles. These street-sold lychees might well be the outcomes of one of those uninvited nighttime harvests, but they will always find a market amongst lychee lovers.
Lychee season in Dodo-Land is also when people find reason to visit friends and relatives with lychee trees. Half an hour's catch up and you are pressed upon departure to accept two or three tiny branches - almost twigs - laden with plump ruby lychees, and maybe some unlucky ants, all wrapped casually in a plastic bag.
No one gets tired of lychees in Dodo-Land. I remember an earlier edition of the Lonely Planet guide commenting on Dodo-Landers' obsession and excitement with lychee season, in a way which clearly showed the reviewer Didn't Get It. They might as well have said "Dodo-Landers go nuts for lychees, but don't ask me why!" It came across as a sort of sneering, dopey, close-mindedness and it made me bristle.
How can you not get it?!! They are so yummy!
You know, there's a way of eating lychees without using your fingers to peelthem.
Well of course I can't do it, or I would opened this blogpost with that as my proud boast!
1. Good luck.
2. What you do is bite down with your front teeth on the skin - hard enough to cut through the skin but gently enough that you don't pierce the fruit itself and dribble lychee juice all down yourself.
3. You should be left with a lychee covered in two skin halves. Hold one skin half delicately and bite the other skin half off and discard.
4. You can now bite into the lychee proper, delicately pinch the lychee out of its remaining skin half.
5. Eat with great enjoyment, and spit out seed delicately.
If you do it right, there should be no finger-to-lychee-flesh contact and no accidental tasting of the lychee skin, either.
Like I said, good luck! Do let me know if you succeed.
Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a couple of lychees left that still require my undivided attention.