HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


I am better than you

For I have had mangosteens. You may now call me your fruit king, and bow down to me. Line up your women in a single-file line, and make sure you kneel when you offer your tribute. If you do not bore me, I may be generous enough to regale you with my knowledge of fruits from the farthest corners of the orient. HAZA!

But seriously I read about the mangosteens coming into NYC from that grower in Puerto Rico and went into the city to get some. I got 1 lb (4 mangosteens) for $45 at The Orchard in Brooklyn. Hey had to try it once in my life.

The flesh had a soft, melting texture (it really does melt in your mouth as they say), and had the perfect balance of sweet and slight sourness, and a general fruity flavor with hints of strawberry and lychee - lychee is definitely a flavor that a lot of people will detect. One flaw though is that the flesh doesn't separate easily from the seed.

It was pretty tasty, but not amazing to me. Not what I would call one of the best fruits, regardless of its reputation. It probably is better super-fresh in Southeast Asia (the ones I bought had been shipped the week before, so the flesh was discoloring a bit around the seed), but still just not that amazing to me. I still much prefer the durians I buy in NYC. This is probably because I really need/like/prefer strong flavors, what with me burning myself with hot peppers all the time (it does dull your sense of taste).

When/if I ever make my trip to Southeast Asia to gorge myself on their fresh durians and other awesome and numerous fruits, I definitely will eat a lot of mangosteens. But at its current price (in America), I won't be eating it too often in America. Again, I prefer to spend my money on the Durians.

Pictures I took below

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You are indeed better than me. I remember getting a kilo of mangosteens for about $1.00 in Myanmar. Was with my weed scientist friend originally from OZ; and mangosteen was his favorite fruit. He thought we paid too much. Of course, I paid $31 for a shower the other day (in an airport between two looong flights). Price is depends on willingness to pay.

    1. Mmmmmm, the mangosteens I had in Bangkok at the end of July rocked my world, and only 10 Baht (30 cents?) for a bag of ten or twelve. Yum, thanks for reminding me, but now I'm salivating, and I can't get more!

      1. how come mangosteens are hard to get/expensive in the US? I'm in Toronto and they're in Chinatown all the time.

        Edit :

        Nevermind - Wiki says FDA only approved of irradiation to prevent the asian fruit fly this July.

        1. I don't get it, they sell mangosteens in Chinatown/Chinese markets in Queens for $8-10 a pound. $45???

          2 Replies
          1. re: janethepain

            These may be frozen ones you're getting. Then again, Thailand's minister of agriculture recently announced that the USDA had approved irradiation facilities in that country and that fresh one would be coming in late September.

            Where in Queens exactly are these places?

            1. re: peanuttree

              Ohh ok, you had to pay that much because they were fresh? Yeah, the ones I'm talking about were frozen (I haven't been able to try them yet). My parents go food shopping in large Asian supermarkets in Queens and that's where they've seen them, I would assume a lot of them carry mangosteens now.

          2. I'm off to Chinatown today! You shall not be my lord, peanuttree! I shall be your equal, mangosteen in hand.

            1. Four for $45?!?!?! Good god! Here in Toronto, I think I got six mangosteens for $10 or so a few months back.

              I agree that they're tasty but not amazing. I'd choose a good ataulfo mango or some lychees over a mangosteen any day.

              1. I think that, when I ventured to Toronto last May, had the mangosteens been $45/lbs, my mother would've declared them my graduation present since I, alone, ate several pounds of them. (My nails were discoloured for a good week after.)

                I never did understand the whole American having no fresh mangosteens thing. Are Canadians having problems with Asian fruit flies?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ali

                  The USDA doesn't allow imports of fruit from the tropics of Asia because of fears that the Asain fruit fly may be introduced and devastate American crops (the flies can actually hide in shipments). Fruit must be irradiated or fumigated (or frozen or canned) to be imported from these areas. Since the tropical countries in Asia aren't all that rich (most of them, anyway), they have yet to build an irradiation facility. Recently it was announced that Thailand built an irradiation facility that was inspected and approved by the USDA, and their prime minister said that mangosteens would start being shipped in late September.

                  The reason you can get them in Canada is that it is assumed that the Canadian climate is too cold for the fruit fly to survive the winters - and apparently this is true since I haven't heard of any fruit fly epidemics destroying crops in Canada while mangosteens have been imported for years

                2. If you are the fruit king then I am going to be not just septocaine_queen but mangosteen queen soon. I am visiting my mother in Toronto in 2 weeks and will be consuming the fruit until the lower G.I. tract balks.

                  1. I just tried them for the first time this past week - the frozen ones from Chinatown - and I don't think my family will be buying any more. I would think this is due to the once-frozenness, but it had this kind of [pulpy mushy] texture that reminded me of durian. Also, it kinda smelled funny - my parents said it smelled like korean daenjang. I don't think I liked the taste very much either. I'm surprised people like this so much.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: janethepain

                      when you eat them fresh they have a chewy( sort of like a lychee) not mushy texture and juicy goodness. I have never consumed them frozen, but after your description I won't.

                      1. re: janethepain

                        Previously frozen mangosteens are sooooo different than fresh ones. Frozen ones are pretty nasty and bitter. If you ever get the chance to have a fresh mangosteen, pounce on it. It's like the difference between freshly picked string beans and the dull olive-colored canned string beans.

                      2. I bow down to your glory and avert my gaze, oh king of all fruity delectables and offer this simple explanation to Canadian mangosteen availability. My limited understanding is that the Asian fruit fly is particularly devastating to citrus crops, so the US government prohibits non-irradiated fruit to protect the citrus industry. But Canada, having no citrus industry, couldn't care less about the Asian fruit fly. And so, in addition to having universal health care, Canadians also have access to tastier fruit. Darn those Canadians.

                        1. While I appreciate your royal flush, I must tell you that last week I bought mangosteens on the street of Bangkok for all of about $1/lb. Ate them back in my hotel room, expecting to lose my socks over their magnificence. Liked them. Yes, some lychee flavor, also some strawberry and some grape. But not the big deal I had expected. But I'm glad I found out.