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Southeast Asian Fruits in LA

w
waffle_in_law Apr 9, 2005 01:04 AM

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.

Thanks!

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  1. i
    ipse dixit Apr 9, 2005 01:15 AM

    Dunno about Hollywood, but try Hawaiin Market in San Gabriel Valley (SE corner of Valley Blvd and Del Mar).

    2 Replies
    1. re: ipse dixit
      j
      jschyun Apr 9, 2005 01:41 AM

      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.

      1. re: ipse dixit
        w
        WBGuy Apr 10, 2005 12:09 AM

        Second the recommendation for Hawaii market in SG. Last time I was there, I saw fresh durians ($4/lb) and fresh jackfruit (forgot the price). The only rambutans and mangosteens I saw there were frozen.

        Now if someone would import fresh rose apples I'd be happy.

      2. p
        Professor Salt Apr 9, 2005 01:16 AM

        Funny, talked about this on my blog this week, but mine lists OC locations only.

        Link: http://professorsalt.blogspot.com/2005/04/rambutan.html

        Image: http://members.cox.net/professorsalt/...

        1. s
          Steve Doggie-Dogg Apr 9, 2005 03:47 PM

          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.

          See ya
          Steve

          Link: http://www.hotdogspot.com

          4 Replies
          1. re: Steve Doggie-Dogg
            v
            vidia Apr 9, 2005 09:52 PM

            You're referring to Bangkok supermarket on Melrose at Harvard.

            1. re: Steve Doggie-Dogg
              j
              jviolet Apr 9, 2005 09:59 PM

              I think you are talking about Silom. I was just there and unfortunately they didn't have anything unusual or that much selection when it comes to fruits (I was looking specifically for rambutans at the time).

              1. re: jviolet
                v
                vidia Apr 9, 2005 10:01 PM

                Silom is on Hollywood Bl. It has that replica of the top of a Thai temple outside and is the place next to Ruen Pair someone else referred to.

              2. re: Steve Doggie-Dogg
                c
                Cicely Apr 10, 2005 11:25 PM

                Bangluck Market:
                5170 Hollywood Blvd.
                in Thai Town
                (323) 660-8000

              3. j
                Jerome Apr 9, 2005 04:23 PM

                I believe this might be OK
                BANGKOK MARKET
                4757 MELROSE AVE
                90029
                LOS ANGELES
                (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.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jerome
                  j
                  Jerome Apr 9, 2005 04:31 PM

                  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.

                  Link: http://www.yucatan.com.mx/especiales/...

                  1. re: Jerome
                    d
                    Dommy! Apr 11, 2005 02:25 PM

                    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....

                    --Dommy!

                  2. j
                    jonu Apr 10, 2005 11:36 AM

                    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.

                    -Jon

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: jonu
                      t
                      Tru like tru dat Apr 10, 2005 03:33 PM

                      Does Bristol Famrs have dragonfruit/pitahaya? It was my favorite fruit when I was in Vietnam last summer (lychee was a close second)

                      1. re: Tru like tru dat
                        j
                        jonu Apr 11, 2005 06:42 PM

                        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.
                        E: hotline@melissas.com
                        P: (800) 588-0151

                        Or they could get them from Frieda's
                        http://www.friedas.com

                        Link: http://www.melissas.com/catalog/index...

                        1. re: jonu
                          p
                          petradish Apr 11, 2005 07:34 PM

                          my chownotes have two sources for dragon fruit:
                          -san gabriel superstore (1635 s. san gabriel blvd, sg)
                          -venice farmers mkt (fridays). he also sells plants. can't remember exact month they bear fruit but pretty sure it's in summer.

                          1. re: jonu
                            c
                            cakeybakey Dec 11, 2006 04:29 AM

                            i see them at whole foods gelsons stater bros

                        2. re: jonu
                          j
                          Jerome Apr 11, 2005 03:27 PM

                          if you're perusing large latino markets -
                          acdg to what I can find -
                          A. cherimola is eng. Cherimoya, Sp. chirimola or chirimoya

                          A Squamosa is Sp. Annona

                          Atemoya is a cross between squamosa and cherimola spp.

                          1. re: jonu
                            c
                            cakeybakey Dec 13, 2006 04:09 AM

                            IVE SEEN CUSTARD APPLES IN WHOLE FOODS

                          2. Normal Garciaparra Dec 11, 2006 05:53 AM

                            It might be hard to find exactly what you want...the USDA has strict requirements on imported fresh fruit (which is why you can only find some of these fruits in frozen, canned or dried form), and some of the approved tropical fruit that gets imported to the USA is usually grown in closed or isolated environments (i.e. grown in certain islands and not others) as to meet USDA specs. So your problem lies mainly with federal regulations and not the lack of availability in this region.

                            1. c
                              chowmominLA Dec 11, 2006 10:59 PM

                              Yeah I would be curious to know if any place in Southern California carries fresh rambutans. Last I did research on it (several years ago) there was a ban on anything fresh. The only place I've seen frozen is 99 Ranch Market in OC in 2000.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: chowmominLA
                                boogiebaby Dec 11, 2006 11:29 PM

                                I have bought fresh Rambutan in both Trader Joes and the Hawaiian market. I bought them about 6 months ago.

                                1. re: chowmominLA
                                  a
                                  Audrey_Ekstrom Dec 12, 2006 03:02 PM

                                  I bought a package of about 10 rambutans at the Vietnamese market at the corner of McFadden and Beach Blvd. in Westminster about 2 weeks ago. I've been told that most of the Asian fruits will be plentiful around the 1st of January in the Vietnamese markets in Little Saigon.

                                  1. re: chowmominLA
                                    c
                                    cakeybakey Dec 13, 2006 04:10 AM

                                    THEY HAVE IT AT TRADER JOES AND HAWAII MARKET

                                  2. c
                                    chowmominLA Dec 12, 2006 03:25 PM

                                    Thanks guys, I'll have to check those places out. Rambutan at Trader Joe's??? Wow, TJ's really does rock!

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