Taste 1,000 Fruits: Purple Mangosteens

14th January 2010


These are Mangosteens, and they are superb. I tried them for the first time in Bali around 2000, and they’re still my favorite fruit.

I got this stash in Chinatown, and at the time I was fairly sure they were illegal. They were tucked way, way, way in back and it was about $40 for a small bag. I’ve since discovered that they were cleared for U.S. import in 2007 and small quantities are grown in Puerto Rico, mostly for gourmet restaurants.

They’re delicious, of course, but also so pretty. The purple outer shell is like a thin layer of carrot over a wide hunk of red pith.


You crack one open by squeezing it in your palm, and then peel back the pith inside to reveal the fruit.


I know they look a little like giant maggots, but they taste like juicy, peach-perfumed pineapple candy. The flesh is actually a lot like a very ripe peach, but with a bit more toughness to the fibers.


My niece likes them too.

16 thoughts on “Taste 1,000 Fruits: Purple Mangosteens

  1. lilian

    Hi Maggie! I grew up eating mangosteens and they’re definitely one of my favorite fruits.

    Just a little fun fact about this fruit that my parents told me about. The number of the little brown spikes at the bottom of the fruit will tell you exactly how many white flesh you’ll get inside =)

  2. Charisa

    I thought they would be blueberry sized, from the looks of the first picture. I was so surprised to see it in your hand. It’s fabulous.

  3. neo

    I remember eating those in the Phillipines when I was a little girl. I literally clapped with happiness when I saw that at a local market recently. They are soo good and very happy they are selling in the states now.

  4. Junglewife

    I live in Indonesia and tried mangosteens for the first time when I moved here. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them! Definitely one of my favorite fruits! Unfortunately we can’t get them in the part of Indonesia where I live, but every time we go to Bali, I eat more than my fill!

  5. hippittee

    Based on your recommendations, and the subsequent endorsements, I’ll definitely keep an eye out for them. But I think comparing them – even if only in appearance – to giant maggots is a little, um…well, let’s just say it might have triggered my reflux!

  6. Abi

    I grew up eating lots and lots of these in the Philippines. I must look out for them the next time I go food shopping!

  7. kelly

    i feel like i am staring at something from outer space…my brain can’t comprehend the squishy white alien butt that was inside of that shell!

  8. mai

    when i’m in asia, mangosteens comprise a big part of my diet. no need to wash, sold on the street, refreshingly delicious!

  9. cryitout!

    Wait a minute, you JUST got these in Chinatown? As in recently? Please please please tell me you remember the name of the place or that they are just laying about all over the place, like so many of the neighborhood’s pink bags. My wife and I have been dying to try them since reading a JW Apple story on them in the NY Times a few years back. This is now our weekend task — thanks!

  10. Annie Sorensen

    I just gasped when I saw this post! Love love LOVE mangosteens. Hope that all of those commenting here that haven’t had an opportunity to try them are able to, and soon. They’re pretty, yummy, and incredibly healthy to boot.

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