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.