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Apr 9, 2005 01:04 AM

Southeast Asian Fruits in LA

  • w

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.


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  1. 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

      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

        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

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



        1. s
          Steve Doggie-Dogg

          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


          4 Replies
          1. re: Steve Doggie-Dogg

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

            1. re: Steve Doggie-Dogg

              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

                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

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

              3. I believe this might be OK
                BANGKOK MARKET
                4757 MELROSE AVE
                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

                  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.


                  1. re: Jerome

                    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....


                  2. 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. 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.


                    6 Replies
                    1. re: jonu
                      Tru like tru dat

                      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

                        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


                        1. re: jonu

                          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

                            i see them at whole foods gelsons stater bros

                        2. re: jonu

                          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

                            IVE SEEN CUSTARD APPLES IN WHOLE FOODS