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Mangosteen - King of the Fruits

Trader Joe's now carries freeze dried mangosteen. Huh! I can report that while it probably tastes a lot better fresh, I suppose this will have to do until Thailand starts sending them our way. This version is kinda like a freeze dried strawberry in its overall flavor, with some tropical subnotes. Can't wait for the day when I can taste one for real.

(On a totally unrelated seasonal TJ's note - peppermint joe-joes are back!)

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  1. It's not Thailand you're waiting on, it's the USDA. The US government forbids import of mangosteens to the continental US because the shipments can contain a fruit fly that would be harmful to US citrus crops.

    You can get them in Canada and Hawaii, though.

    1 Reply
    1. re: mudster

      actually, the ban was lifted recently (yay!) and now the us market is waiting on thailand to get their export ducks all in a row. of course, the fruit will be irradiated, but c'est la vie. ;)

    2. I have to admit - I find those little freeze-dried mangosteens remarkably addictive. It does not remind me that much of the real thing, as really the highlights of eating that fruit is the creaminess of the fruit, which is impossible to replicate. But man...as a lo-cal snack - they are a dream!!!!

      1. What section of the market are these usually in? I know I can just go and ask, but the staff at TJ's is sometimes less than knowledgeable about their own wide assortment of obscure products.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Pei

          I just (yesterday) bought some frozen, but fresh (not dried) mangosteens from May Wah market on Clement St. S.F....they should be defrosted this morning so I'll try them and report back!

        2. I love the freeze-dried TJ mangosteens. Just discovered them last weekend.

          1. I find that TJ stock varies quite a bit regionally. I was at my local TJ's (Bay Area) a couple days ago & didn't see any, but I wasn't looking. Where are you?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Hunicsz

              I'm in Boston, so yeah, it may be regional. And to answer Pei's question, I found them with the dried fruit, on the top shelf...


              1. re: Hunicsz

                I saw some this morning at the TJ's in Los Altos, so they're definitely being carried in the BA.

              2. Has anyone seen these freeze-dried mangosteens at any TJ's in LA? I looked this morning in West LA, no sign of 'em. Ideas for using them are already percolating and I don't even know what they look like yet?

                2 Replies
                1. re: PayOrPlay

                  I second your inquiry! I made a special trip on Saturday just for the freeze-dried mangosteen, and found only strawberries.

                  1. re: PayOrPlay

                    I've seen them in West Hollywood (on Santa Monica) but not at the one on National near Overland. The National one, OTOH, had these totally addictive guava paste rolls that were nowhere to be found at WeHo. And yes, I went to two TJ's in two days, why do you ask?

                  2. I managed to find these at my local TJ's here in Tucson, Az. They were on a bottom shelf next to the dried pineapple and dried mango. Tasty, but similar in texture to freeze-dried "astronaut" icecream.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Booklegger451

                      It tasted like styrofoam peanuts to me...

                      1. re: Claudette

                        Strange. Mine were mildly sweet, with a tart sour cherry note and strawberry flavor. They certainly LOOKED like styrofoam peanuts, though...

                    2. I can regularly find canned mangosteen in my local Asian food market. Definitely better texture-wise than freeze-dried. I'm not big on the dehydrated fruit.

                      I know my local TJs here in Santa Barbara has had fresh rambutan for the past few weeks, which was an unusual treat.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: allegro805

                        my tj had rambutan once but never again
                        i am desperate for mangosteen fresh or freezed not canned

                      2. Can't wait to try!! This is one of my all time favorite fruits!! Have only had fresh though. AMAZING. Hopefully my TJs will have them. Or, the irradiated fruit somewhere else. Hopefully they won't be the puny ones I've seen in other countries, sigh...

                        1. Wait wait!

                          If Mangosteen is the King of Fruits, what makes Durian?

                          I thought Durian was King, and Mangosteen, Queen....

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: HLing

                            Durians are usually called the King of Fruits. I'm not sure if its the smell. Don't get me wrong I like Durians.

                            1. re: HLing

                              Yes, you are right... I've read that too. Durian=king, Mangosteen=Queen.

                              Why? Who knows.


                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                The answer has something to do with the daoist concept of yin/yang. I'm not an expert on such things, but I know that in Daoism everything has (is?) a yin and a yang, masculine/feminine, a hot/cool. Here's how it goes, I think: Durian is the hottest, most masculine fruit, hence King. Mangosteen is therefore probably the coolest, most feminine fruit, hence queen. As to why dividing them up in each camp, I don't know, but if you've had either or both it makes sense. With apologies to stereotypes, Durian is without a doubt the most assertive fruit in existence, and mangosteen one of the most subtle (and delicious).

                                Here's a fascinating PDF for Australian food exporters (that really deserves its own thread) on food symbolism in Asian Chinese, Muslim, and Christian traditions:


                                FWIW, mangosteens have been seen sporadically in NY Chinatown for the past couple of summers. Worth it, even at $9/pound for about four.


                                1. re: Spoony Bard

                                  I understand about hot and cold, and your explanation is basically good. But no way is mangosteen one of the least assertive fruits. There are really nearly tasteless fruits like dragonfruit and sabra (cactus pear). A good mangosteen is about as assertive as a good peach, I think.

                                  1. re: Pan

                                    I didn't mean to suggest that the mangosteen is undistinctive or unflavorful. I meant to describe its flavor figuratively, like using yin and yang. As in, if the durian is a linebacker, then the mangosteen is a prima ballerina. In which case, I'd say a good peach is a gymnast.

                                    And don't respond that a mangosteen is Laila Ali! We could quibble all day about such sillyness. :)

                            2. I eagerly picked these up recently. The taste was alright, and at first the texture was fine, but what is that weird thing in the middle!?!?! Hard and strange. Is that a result of the freeze drying? I can't eat them because i really disliked that part.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: annimal

                                The "weird thing" is what we call "a seed" LOL. That is actually my favorite part.

                              2. I picked up the freeze-dried mangosteen, too, and enjoyed the texture, but the flavor was mild with a hint of... fish? Or something that tasted "off." I returned them. Yuck!

                                1. I have eaten fresh mangosteen many times in Asia. They are very inexpensive there. We buy them by the sack for a couple of dollars a sack. They have a wonderful flavor. I have never tried them freeze dried. They are usually less expensive in Malaysia than in other places where we have eaten them, but they are relatively inexpensive everywhere I have seen them in South Asia. Mangosteen is referred to as the Queen of Fruits, not the King.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MIKELOCK34

                                    No doubt durian is called the King of fruits in Southeast Asia, as it's a ballsy gutsy fruit - probably the most assertive of all fruits in just about every way. And like Spoony Bard mentions, the mongosteen is a prima ballerina compared to its hairy-chested bar-brawling counterpart.

                                    There's something very feminine about the way that the fresh luscious segments have been revealed when the fruit's smooth deep sultry purple skin gives way when gently pressed between the palms of your hand. Maybe it's the stark contrast of its alabaster luster against the thick indigo husk, or the plump form of the segments that when left together might remind one of a woman's shape. The taste and texture of a freshly split segment is somewhat feminine as well. Sweet, tender, and revealing just a hint of perfume, while sumptuous on the tongue and just slightly tart to tease one's palate.

                                    My only reservation about its importation will be that, like durians, the mangosteens will probably be picked underripe. This is even more critical than with durian, as while durian has very strong aromas and flavors, mangosteen is just about everything that a durian isn't. It's delicate flavors and perfume might not be present when it is underripe, let alone it's sweetness.

                                    The durians exported to the US cower in the shadow of its true king in places like Malaysia and Thailand, where they have varietal names like, "Jungle King," and "Red Lobster." I hope the queen of fruits won't have her image tarnished by an enemic representation as well...