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A fragrant tropical fruit that is sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture.

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A Peculiar & Wildly Delicious Fruit

  • Aug 9, 2009
  • by
I first discovered these unusual looking fruits in Thailand when I was a little kid.  Looking like a small, round, burgundy, Thai eggplant, it did not look appetizing at all as a kid, but my mom insisted that I try it.  She cracked open its hard little reddish-purplish shell and fed me the snow white aril inside... And I was hooked for life!  Every time I traveled to Asia thereafter, I had to consume mangosteens at least once during the trip.

The mangosteen is unlike any other fruit that I've ever encountered in every way.  Its got a hard, yet delicate shell, kind of like an egg, and the best way to open it is kind of like cracking an egg.  Instead of cracking it on a hard surface in a circular motion though, my parents taught me to apply pressure to the shell with my fingers all the way around the circumference of the fruit, and then simply twist it open.  Makes for a totally clean open, and you wouldn't get your hands stained with red from the spongy part of the skin. 

What's on the inside, though, both texture and flavor-wise, is absolutely amazing and totally worth peeling for (this is noteworthy because I know plenty of people who don't buy certain fruits at the supermarket simply because they're too lazy to peel and prepare them.  I may or may not be one of those people :x).  You've got these soft little slivers of snow white mangosteen that section off really easily, and are spongy, juicy, and tangy, and the best part?  They're always super sweet.  I've never had a mangosteen that wasn't.  It tastes like a unicorn exploded in my mouth or something.  Absolutely magical.

If you want to try mangosteen in the States, the easiest and most affordable place to get a taste of them is actually, surprisingly, at Trader Joe's.  Except it's freeze dried mangosteen, but at that price (it's about $2.99 or $3.99 a bag) and on this side of the globe, it's a great deal.  You'd have to let your saliva do the juicing for you though.  If you want to try them fresh, I see them once in a while at Asian supermarkets like Ranch 99, and if you've got a frou frou supermarket like I do in Berkeley (Berkeley Bowl!), they might just get exotic fruits like mangosteen once in a while.  Be warned though, fresh ones are super duper expensive!  I'm not sure what health benefits mangosteens posess, but I've also seen mangosteen juice sold as a dietary supplement (like açaí) at Costco.

I can't wait till the day the U.S. starts allowing the importation of mangosteen (they're afraid that Asian fruit flies will ruin U.S. crops even though irradiation was introduced to the shipment of mangosteens in 2007!).  Until then, it's literally x's on my calender.  Well, that, and I can always take a trip to Asia, too :)

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February 18, 2011
These are great! I've had them a few times in Indonesia. Thanks for the review.
February 18, 2011
Thanks for reading, Chris! And they certainly are :) Cannot wait to go back to Asia to have some!
January 24, 2011
Sounds interesting, but I don't think I'll come across one of these in Indiana any time soon.
January 24, 2011
Asian markets! ;)
April 21, 2010
I"ve never had the pleasure but I'll sure keep my eyes open in the markets as I travel now. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
January 24, 2011
Hope you get to try some! :)
February 13, 2010
Looks yummy but I have never seen one of these. Excellent review
February 26, 2010
Well, if you ever travel to Asia, do give it a try! You'll love it :)
February 02, 2010
Sorry I misled you. They sell the extracted juice at Costco for $28 (As best I recall), but not the fresh stuff. Until your article, I had no idea where to get the fresh stuff. Thanks for the info.
February 02, 2010
Ah, thanks for clearing that up. Yeah, those juices are ridiculously priced!
February 02, 2010
I have always been intriqued by the claims of Magosteen as a fruit, but it si so expensive, even at Costco. Your article was very informative as to where it is from and how I can get it (even though I live in Colorado and there are no Trader Joe's here) I am probably visiting Thailand this summer, I will surely pig out on Magosteen if I do end up there. Thanks for the tip on how to peel it.
February 02, 2010
They sell these at your Costco? I'm jealous! I see them in Chinatown for $10 for a very small bag, and they're not even good quality. I really can't wait till the U.S. allows these to be imported. Thanks for your comment! :)
December 13, 2009
nicely done write up, Devora, good thing this was featured otherwise I would never have come across this one. I believe I've had this at a party or something a few times but I didn't know what it was called...I'm a meat and potatos guy so fruit isn't exactly my specialty. Pretty good, stuff!
February 02, 2010
Whoa, didn't notice this comment before, but never too late to thank ya! Meat and potatoes guy, eh? Well, it looks like you do ice cream, too ;) Mangosteens are available in Chinatown!
December 11, 2009
Mangosteen juice is extremely healthy & tastes great. If I could afford it, I would drink this around the clock. I felt so much healthier & actually lost weight when I bought a few bottles of this last year. Great review!
December 11, 2009
Whoooa, didn't know that it was a good diet, tool, too! If you ever get the chance to have them fresh, do it! :)
December 12, 2009
Definitely. It was a refreshing diet tool at that. I would love to try the fresh mangosteen though.
August 09, 2009
Great that you are introducing exotic Asian fruits to the readers here. I love mangosteen too, and durian, jambu, guava, soursop, etc... hey, how about writing a review on each one of them ;-) Mangosteen is supposed to be cooling while durian is heaty. Well, that's what the Chinese people says anyway. Some likes to take them one after another. I believe mangosteen is cheapest in Thailand, Malaysia & Indonesia. So, if you are heading those countries, you can have your fill of the fruit. Freezed mangosteen? Are u sure they are edible? ;-)
August 10, 2009
Mmmmm, your listing off of exotic fruits is making me want to fly to Asia again!  And maybe I will write more reviews on them :P  I under stand the concept of certain fruits beening cooling and others being heaty, but I've never really figured out a way to convey that to someone who's not familiar with those concepts.  I thought mangosteens would be a heaty fruit like lychee for some reason!  I heard of frozen mangosteens before, but no thank you!  The ones that I referred to are freeze dried, so they're crunchy like chips, yet they melt in your mouth!  Edible, yes, but nowhere near as delicious as fresh *tear*
August 09, 2009
Have you tried fruit markets in Asian neighborhoods? They show up here in upscale markets occasionally, but more often in speciality markets. I must say I haven't tried them yet, but you make me want to. What about durian? I have friends who say it's terrific and when I was in Singapore a few yars ago a little was included in a fruit dessert. But it's supposed to be incredibly stinky--until you eat it--and there are signs in the Singapore transit system saying you're not supposed to bring them on the bus/train.
August 10, 2009
I actually do see them pop up at Asian supermarkets, like Ranch 99 once in a while, they're pretty expensive though, so I only see them once in a blue moon.  I've had durian before, definitely an acquired taste and smell (I appreciate both!), and that's funny that there are signs in Singapore regarding that!  I actually just created a Favorite Exotic Fruits list if you want to check out more exotic fruits :)
More Mangosteen reviews
Quick Tip by . April 29, 2011
Mangosteen is cooling and in Asia, some eat them as a companion to Durian as Mangosteen is known to have a cool down effect while Durian is 'heaty' (accordinng to the Chinese).
About the reviewer
devora ()
Ranked #4
When I'm not Lunching, I'm a jeweler, and an all around, self-proclaimed web geek. My passions include social media, the interweb, technology, writing, yoga, fitness, photography, jewelry, fashion, … more
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About this food


The Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as "the mangosteen", is a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The tree grows from 7 to 25 m (20–80 ft) tall. The rind (exocarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. Botanically an aril, the fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture.

The Purple Mangosteen belongs to the same genus as the other — less widely known — mangosteens, such as the Button Mangosteen (G. prainiana) or the Lemondrop Mangosteen (G. madruno). Botanically, they are not related to the mango (Mangifera spp.), which belongs to the Anacardiaceae plant family.

Mangosteen is typically advertised and marketed as part of an emerging category of novel functional foods sometimes called "superfruits" presumed to have a combination of 1) appealing subjective characteristics, such as taste, fragrance and visual qualities, 2) nutrient richness, 3) antioxidant strength and 4) potential impact for lowering risk against human diseases.

The aril is the flavorful part of the fruit but, when analyzed specifically for its nutrient content, the mangosteen aril only meets the first criterion above, as its overall nutrient profile is absent of important content.

Some mangosteen juice products contain whole fruit purée or polyphenols extracted from the inedible exocarp (rind)...
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