I used to work at an upbeat restaurant in downtown Boston, and we served a ton of exotic beverages. A lychee martini was one of them. Because of its exotic-ness, it was quite popular.

You can imagine how many different ways "lychee" was pronounced: 'lee-che,' 'lee-chai,' 'ly-chee,' 'ly-chai' (seriously), among other pronunciations. As soon as I heard someone order this drink, I knew that the guest didn't know what lychee is and what it tastes like. I would smile, correct the guest's pronunciation, and fetch the magical beverage. There was no judgement there. After all, there are so many other exotic fruits most of us never heard of.

Having served the cocktail, I would anxiously wait to see if the drink had been enjoyed and shared by the whole table. There's a simple lesson right there: if you doesn't know how to pronounce lychee, you don't know how heavenly it tastes.

What is lychee?

rambutan, lychee
Kartik Sharma

Lychee is a tropical fruit native to Southern China that's been popular since ancient times. The edible portion of the fruit is white, firm, and juicy. With its unique fragrance, it tastes rather like sweet, crunchy grapes.

Rich in fiber and vitamins C and B, lychee makes a perfect low-calorie snack and its juice is the perfect addition to many drinks. To learn more about this exotic fruit, this article explains what lychee is and more about its origins. 

How to Pronounce Lychee

sweet, rambutan, lychee
Sarah Fung

According to The Cambridge Dictionary, you can pronounce lychee two ways. The British say "lie-chee," while Americans say "lee-chee." Indeed, the British way of pronouncing it sounds quite elegant and sophisticated, like the fruit itself. The American way, though, sounds simpler to remember.

There is no one way to pronounce lychee correctly. There are two correct pronunciations, and you're welcomed to say it however you choose. If the night is right and you're feeling all elegant and splendid, go ahead, order that "lie-chee" beverage. However, if you're at the club and want to try something fun and refreshing, yet sweet and delicate, ask for the unpretentious "lee-chee" one and have the time of your life. 

Chinese emperors have enjoyed lychees for centuries, and so should you. Especially now that you know how to pronounce it the right way.