September 2, 2006
Perhaps the biggest highlight of my trip to Jakarta was that I finally tasted a real mangosteen. The mangosteen is a tropical fruit that I only ever tasted in the form of mangosteen flavored chewing gum (easily the best gum I've ever had). According to the Wikipedia article, mangosteen is illegal to import into the US for fear of fruit flies, so I've never been able to taste the real fruit in the US before.
Anyway, I was in the grocery store in the basement of the Sogo department store in the upscale Plaza Senayen shopping mall. (I like visiting grocery stores in different countries. Interesting to see what they have to offer.) After passing the stinky durian, I noticed a fruit with a sign that said mangis. I wondered if this could be the fabled fruit (I didn't really know what they looked like.) I figured I had nothing to lose by buying two, so I picked them up along with some coffee beans (how can you not buy coffee when you're on the island of Java?) and candy for the boys and went back to the hotel.
I eagerly cut open the first one, revealing the yummy white fruit. Success! It was a mangosteen. The fruit inside the thick red peel is like a white tangerine - a few small sections and one big one containing the pit. The texture of the flesh is kind of like lychee (if that helps) but thicker. The flavor was ethereal - delicately intense like a great pear. Anyway, I quickly wished I'd bought more. I'm not sure when I'll be able to find my next mangosteen, but I'm looking forward to it. In the meantime, I'll have to see if I can find some canned fruit.
Here are some bad photos of my mangosteen.
Posted by Tony at September 2, 2006 7:58 AM | TrackBack