Foodie Friday: The Miraculous Mangosteen

(Hmmm. When it comes to ‘Foodie Friday’ posts, I often seem to find myself stuck in Superlative Land. You’ll have to bear with me once more, though, because it is impossible to describe mangosteens without using superlatives.)

The “Queen of Fruits” is so miraculously perfect that it deserves its own post.* It is only when I moved to Thailand that I met this fruit ‘vis-a-vis’ as the French say, but it has been nothing but pure love since then.  I was originally sceptical of this fabled perfection, however, because:

A) The Durian is called the “King of Fruits,” and I have never smelled anything so revolting – think onions mixed with teenage-boy B.O. (Making me actually taste it would require a force-feeding adventure). Royalty designations just don’t do it for me.

B) Todd was really excited to eat mangosteen again. Todd, however, gets excited by mixed congee, mysterious lumps from the market, and low-quality carbohydrates. His culinary instincts are sporadic at best.

Plus, they look like strange lumps – not exactly flaunting their perfection.

As soon as I tasted one, though, I knew I that all the stories were true. It is the perfect fruit. There aren’t really adequate words to describe its flavour, but I will try: imagine the most beautiful flower you can think of, then imagine that beauty in the form of a flavour. Voila, the mangosteen.

They look pretty unassuming on the outside:

Giving you a fuller picture of the “strange lump” spectrum

Who cares about the outside, though? I never judge a book by its cover. All I’m into is innards.

And these innards are worth gettin’ into.

The fruit itself is arranged in a flower formation, and each section has a big seed in the middle. The sections are sort of like skinny-fat people: they’re mostly bone, but the flesh they do have is soft and flabby.

Never has flabby been so tasty

Getting to those innards can be tough. Todd once slit open his hand in his anxiety to hit mangosteen paydirt. I am forever indebted to fellow Bangkokian blogger mishvo for alerting me to the fact that mangosteens can actually be peeled. Who knew? I believe that this knowledge has already saved T-bone’s life several times over.

Although plastic bags may yet claim him

Sometimes, mangosteens go bad. It is tragic when perfection is corrupted.

The mangosteen on the right is sporting some mould, while the one on the left has a few mushy neon blemishes.

Pulpy, woody, rotting, stinking, tragicness.

But because of the amazingness of the good fruit, we keep tearing into them, rotten or not.

Awkward self portrait. Dang it, T-Bone! Why are you always working when I need a photographer?!

And a more successful portrait of someone enjoying mangosteen.

Sadly, mangosteen season is drawing to a close. Leave me a comment if you have suggestions on how to fill the void that it is leaving in my culinary life.

* Also, I was too lazy to scout out more new and bizarre fruit.

21 thoughts on “Foodie Friday: The Miraculous Mangosteen

  1. I’m glad you like Mangosteen! Obviously you did not make the error of only peeling back the tough outermost layer and biting in to the bitter purple pulp that protects the actual fruit…If you had you might feel more animosity towards Mangosteen…who would be dumb enough to do that, though? Also, I am a skinny-fat person; thanks for the shout out.

    I think the best thing for your culinary void might be coconut ice-cream and peanuts with condensed milk scooped into a hollowed out coconut with some of the coconut fruit still in it. Skinny-fat-person style.

  2. Yo thanks for the mention! I love reading about mangosteens almost as much as I love eating them…
    Haven’t seen them being sold on the streets lately though. Are they out of season?

  3. Hi Facetious Farang, MishVo’s mom here in Atlanta. Love this, very funny! We tried a couple of mangosteens (very expensive here). Really only got one good one. It was…interesting! I’ll have to try more to really render judgement, but they aren’t available anymore. Durian is sold frozen here. Wonder if that mitigates the smell factor. Have a happy day!

    • Thanks for reading, KimVo! Freezing durian is a brilliant idea – I wish they’d do that here. Bangkok actually has signs in the metro and the airport banning durians – I can only imagine the incidents that triggered them 🙂

  4. No appeal, fruit-wise, but the post is entertaining! (Why didn’t you get your toothy alligator friend to do the photographing?)

  5. Just looked to see if this can be located in Calgary, no luck. The inside looks a little bit like garlic cloves but I don’t think it would have quite taste. Sorry to see Todd attacked by the plastic bags. Maybe they are bad not only for the environment but to us humans too, if they turn on us like that. I will have to be leery when I go by my cupboard where the bags are kept.

    We love reading your post Ruth from cold Calgary where it is minus 8 today.


    • I’ve never seen them in Calgary (haven’t looked that hard, though), and I could never figure out why- maybe they’re too delicate or something.

  6. Why do you capitalize the fruit, is it a proper noun? That is some important fruit is it always gets a capital “M”. But what about the lowly apple, or the avocado, to say nothing about the faithful strawberry!


    • The strawberry IS faithful, but the ones that grocery stores in Canada often carry are so watery that they have ruined its chances of becoming a proper noun.

  7. Okay sorry it wasn’t always capitalized. In one post I saw that it had been in the middle of a sentence. But hey, maybe it should be and have the definite article before it if it is that good. Sounds like royalty fruit to me.

    Here comes The Mangosteen! All hail.

    Cheers, Jonathan

    • Haha. You caught me on that one. I started off capitalizing it (because it is so miraculous), then pondered the grammatical violation, then changed it back to lower case. But I am not good with details so I missed a few 🙂

  8. Had a great visit with Laura and Eric today. They are doing really well. Your place, their place looks great. Nice job on the floors Todd. I hadn’t seen them before today. We had a cozy cup of tea and chocolate cookies to warm us from the minus temperatures outside. Our American friends are adjusting to this cold weather well.

    Hope you are having a good Sunday.

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