Southeast Asian Fruits in LA
What are good places to find southeast asian fruits? (e.g. mangosteens, rambutans, durian, lychees, dragonfruit, non-standard mangoes, etc.) The closer to Hollywood, the better.
re: ipse dixit
Possibly the Thai supermarket right next to the plaza with Palms and Ruen Pair might have them. The Viet stores in OC get most of their fruit from Thailand (or they say they do for political reasons) , so it would make sense to me that this market would have them, though I didn't check the last time I was in this area, sorry.
Bangluck Market next to Sanam Luang in Hollywood has stuff in season. There is also a great Thai market on Melrose near the Hollywod freeway, but I was only there once, and I don't remember the name.
Ask the cook at your favorite Thai restaurant. They'll tell you where to find what you're looking for.
I believe this might be OK
4757 MELROSE AVE
(bad rating from health department, shouldn't affect fruit).
BTW, although Dragonfruit is popular in Vietnam and taiwan, it was introduced there by the French and the Japanese (I believe). The dragon fruit, aka pitahaya, is actually native to Mexico, and was taken by the French to indochina after their exposure to it under Maximillian.
Ready for corrections.
the point being that many Latino markets will have dragon fruit pulp (frozen) under the name pitahaya. Thre's even a place on Pico (can't remember the name) that has licuado de pitahaya, or a dragonfruit shake.
For a nice picture, look at the link from a YUCATECAN site. You'll see it's dragon fruit.
Thanks Jerome for the call out...
Your story sounds credible, Maximillian under most accounts truly loved Mexico and it's riches. I've never gotten into the finer points of pitahaya or sought it out as it never was a favorite of mine (Obviously, it's very common in the Yucatan, especially in frozen and liquado form). I perfer the rich Mamey or the little lychee like Huayas which I have seen at several larger Mexican supermarkets, so pitahaya just might be found there. Or I think I have seen the pulp in frozen form as well come to think of it....
I haven't had much luck finding those fruit in the Thai markets on Hollywood. Your best bet (for some of the fruits) would be the Vietnamese markets on Bolsa in Little Saigon. I highly recommend ABC market at Bolsa and Magnolia for produce.
However, Bristol Farms carries rambutan (chom chom-Vietnamese, Nga??-Thai) in season. I have seen them at the one on Doheny in BH.
I believe their supplier is Melissa's or Frieda's. www.melissas.com http://www.friedas.com Frieda's is a local company (Los Alamitos, CA
)You will see on their websites other interesting tropical fruits available for mail order.
Not available for mailorder, unfortunately for US fruit lovers, is the MANGOSTEEN (mangkut -Thai&Vietnamese). Fresh mangosteens are illegal in the US. You can find frozen mangosteens at Vietnamese markets. I have tried the frozen ones and do not recommend. The rind imparts a bitter flavor on the defrosted mangosteen. The creaminess and complexity of the fruit is completely overpowered by the bitter rind. If you have to try the frozen ones, they only way to get a hint of the frozen fruit's flavor is to microwave the frozen fruit to the point of defrosting the soft center. Then grabbing a sharp knive a sawing through the still frozen rind. Then remove the semi-frozen fruit and pop it in your mouth. FOr a split second you will taste the fruit's creaminess before you realize the depth of the flavor isn't there and the texture is all wrong.
Durian (sau rieng-Vietnamese, thurian-Thai)are also available in Little Saigon. Frozen ones are always available. They should have a few varieties of durian including the much-loved Monthong. Frozen ones are about 60 cents/pound.
Fresh one are often available for about $4/pound or $40/fruit!!
I often see jackfruit (mit-Vietnamese)in Mom&Pop grocers in Little Saigon. You buy a section of the fruit, of course, as a whole fruit can be 50 pounds.
Dragonfruit and lychees are available fresh in the US at these markets. Quite good frozen longan are also available. Custard apples (annona squamosa, nonya-Thai, Na-Vietnamese), a cherimoya relative, and my second favorite fruit after mangosteen, is available only frozen in California. Don't buy. Head to Miami instead. There are grown south of Miami, in the only tropical fruit-growing region in the US.
re: Tru like tru dat
I am not sure if they have dragonfruit. I know I have seen them in California, but I think at only Asian markets.
I would contact Melissa's directly. If Bristol Farms does have them, they probably get them from Melissa's.
P: (800) 588-0151
Or they could get them from Frieda's