5 delicious ways you can enjoy lychee only in Cayman
From Japan to Thailand, to the USA, lychee has long been a part of the Asian culinary experience and we have adopted the fruit as one of our own here in Cayman. I don't know about you, but I consider lychee to be the perfect summer fruit and have been gorging myself on luscious, juicy lychees before they disappear until next year.
Believe it or not, lychee was once only reserved for the very wealthy and royalty in Asian countries... now everyone including tourists (and me) can enjoy lychee in all forms including as a quick refresher upon arrival in many airports in Asia (see photo of me with lychee drink in hand in Thailand).
In Cayman, you can find lychee trees everywhere. Resembling a guinep in structure, the outside is covered by a pink-red, rind that is inedible but easily removed, while the inside consists of a layer of sweet, translucent white flesh, with a texture somewhat similar to that of a grape.
Rich in vitamin C, lychee also has more than 100% of the daily requirement of ascorbic acid in a single serving, which is great for immunity, your skin and is anti-inflammatory while Lycheetannin A2, a component of lychee, may help in preventing the spread of viruses. The high copper content in lychee helps in boosting circulation and the high fibre content is excellent for digestion.
The sweet, aromatic taste of lychee, is the perfect merger between sweet and tart, making it an ideal accompaniment to other tropical flavours. Here are some amazing ways that you can enjoy lychee in Cayman.
1. Tea Time in Cayman
"While black tea has great health benefits, pairing it with the scent of lychee creates that different variation to regular black tea that is uplifting in every way," say the folks at luxury tea company, Tea Time in Cayman. For $5.50 you can learn why "the unique flavour of the lychee fruit (paired with black tea) presents a distinctly uplifting taste, leaving you with a pleasant-tasting tea that is smooth and well-balanced."
2. A lychee cocktail
A number of restaurants and bars on-island offer mouth-watering lychee cocktails. Luca restaurant on Seven Mile Beach has a delicious Lychee Martini made of Lemongrass Lychee Martini absolut vodka, lychee liquor, lemon, lemongrass-infused sugar syrup and lychee juice. Casa 43 Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar offers a 'Casa43 Double Barrel Lychee Margarita' and Guy Harvey's Lychee Cosmo features Patron Citronage, Triple Sec, lychee and lime juice.
Some of the most amazing desserts are made from lychee! Take the coconut mousse at Kaibo for example, made of rosewater jelly, local soursop and lychee.
4. Ice cream
As the queen of summer fruits, lychee should be a natural accompaniment to your favourite summer treat. The hot sweltering temperatures of Cayman in the summer just got a little easier. One of my favourites is the Malaysian Zha Ice Cream at Wok-n-roll, made of vanilla ice cream, cherries and lychee.
5. Fresh off the tree!
With lychee trees growing everywhere, and in East End in particular, you don't have to go far to experience that fresh sweet goodness. You can even buy a lychee tree to plant in your own yard from Cayman Growers or another nursery for between $75 and $95, or contact Zippy Farms and they will deliver some to your doorstep.
I have yet to see it in Cayman, but lychee also works really well in savoury foods. Some of my favourite recipes include a lychee prawn salad, in curries or recipes that call for sweet and sour sauce. Yum!