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Jul 17, 2006 09:06 PM

Fresh mangosteens available on Canal Street and Mulberry [moved from What's my Craving board]

While living in the Philippines almost twenty years ago, I encountered the mangosteen. Normally impossible to find in the U.S.--I understand they may even be illegal to import--the illusive mangosteen is perhaps the most delightful fruit known to creation. I have wandered many years without savoring the sweet joy of their snow white flesh, but today I struck gold. The fruit woman on the SE corner of Canal and Mulberry has this forbidden fruit. They don't come cheap at $9 per pound, can you really put a price on a little piece of heaven?

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  1. Fantastic! I can't wait to get down there. I've also found mangosteens occasionally at the Thai grocery store on Mosco just west of Mott (north side of the street) -- frozen, but the whole let them thaw for 30 minutes, then peel and eat as usual. Not quite as good as fresh, but a very close second and still amazing.

    1. Yep, we're writing about this today-- we found several places selling them in Chinatown. And you're right about the legality, although mangosteens from Hawaii and Puerto Rico are legal (although they're sprayed for fly infestations, so they have to be washed well). My guess is that the Chinatown mangosteens we're seeing aren't from PR or HI though-- they're unlabeled, and when I asked to take some photos at two different fruit stands, I was told, "No! No picture!" Make of that what you will.



      1. I bought two yesterday (for $5!) at Canal and Mulberry, and was sorely disappointed when I got home and they were halfway rotted. Is there any way to judge how fresh they are from looking at them? The only other time in my life I've eaten mangosteens was in Thailand as a 16-year-old, over 10 years ago.

        5 Replies
        1. re: AppleSister

          AppleSister, they may also have been frozen, which also tends to make the fruit soft. But BigAppleEater is right-- look for firm, dark fruit, and also try to avoid ones that have lost all their leaves.



          1. re: Nosher

            Nosher, I'm not so sure about the dark color. Here's from a webiste on durian and mangosteens: "The ripe mangosteen is dark red and tastes best if harvested before turning purple or blue-black. It does not ripen post-harvest." (from


            This advice seems borne out by pictures of mangosteens at fruit stands in Thailand:



            That said, the ones I found in Chinatown were all purple-black, so it's probably moot.

            The first link above also mentions a horribly sour yellow mangosteen that nonetheless makes a good pie. Mangosteen pie... can you imagine?

            1. re: Spoony Bard

              SB: Yes, of course avoid the black ones, but for the most part, the ones we found aren't much darker than the Thailand photos in your links. Dark is good, but black... not so much.

              We haven't noticed much difference between these mangosteens and ones we've bought in places where they're legal to purchase fresh. But I am sure that nothing compares to picking them off a tree and eating them fresh-- just no chance of that here.

              Mangosteen pie sure does seem like kind of a waste. It's probably good though, just because it contains mangosteens.

              1. re: Nosher

                Really? They compare well to elsewhere, Nosher? That's good to know. Only one thing makes me question that- I was expecting more juice in mine. Reputedly the rind oozes out an indelible purple liquid, but I've seen little to none of that, and what purple I had on my hands came off quite easily. Not that I'm complaining! This leads me to believe that the mangosteens I bought were at least slightly sub par in the juice department. Maybe it's just natural variation? Delicious nonetheless. We're all very lucky!

              2. re: Spoony Bard

                thanks for the pictures, spoony bard. i've been wondering what mangosteens look like, and for some reason was too lazy to google images it. : ) very helpful.

          2. Make sure that they are dark in color and firm to the touch

            1. if they have been frozen you will know when you eat them, after a while after having been defrosted the color and flavor from the skin will leach into the white fruit. if you buy frozen mangosteens, only defrost what you are going to eat immediately...