BootsnAll Travel Network

The Sweet Purple Kiss of the Mangosteen

After my life and death encounter with a durian, I was ready for something significantly less confrontational to eat.  Ian and Sarah agreed that a mangosteen was the way to go.  Before our trip, Ian had repeatedly told me about the awe-inspiring taste of the mangosteen: how it was unimaginably sweet without being too sugary, refreshing and palette cleansing while still being mindblowingly delicious.  Every fruit I suggested as a possible comparison was shot down as unworthy pablum in Ian’s fever-pitched endorsement of the sainted mangosteen, holiest of all fruits.

With the taste of the durian still lingering in my mouth, I began to fantasize about how the mythic mangosteen would rid me of my strife and worry and bear me away on golden waves of joy…but I also worried that Ian might’ve exaggerated…just a little bit.

Sarah bought and cracked open one of the small, vaguely pomegranate-like purple fruits.  Under a thick, fibrous rind full of staining purple juice was a tiny white bulb.  I popped one of its segments into my mouth and understood immediately why the durian and mangosteen go hand in hand.  After the pummeling I’d been given by the durian, the mangosteen’s refreshing sweetness felt like a soothing wave washing away all of the confusion.  If eating the durian had been akin to being mauled by a bear, then eating the mangosteen was an action-packed airlift out of the bear-infested jungle in a helicopter piloted by Leelee Sobieski.  But I digress.

In addition to being an ideal post-durian respite, the mangosteen was freaking delicious on its own.  It was somewhat similar to a peach in flavour, but far less tart or cloying.  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten something that tasted as instantly <i>right</i> as that first bit of mangosteen.  There were light sparks of pure sweetness popping off all throughout my mouth.  “Yes,” my tongue seemed to be saying, “this just about makes up for all of the mediocre coffee and stale tortilla chips you routinely subject me to at home.”

I quickly wolfed down the remaining segments, then bought a dozen or so more mangosteens to bring back to the hotel with me. Over the course of our whole Malaysian trip I’d often pick up a bunch of the purple fruits and happily munch my way through them. While you can find mangosteens in North America, they’re generally of significantly lower quality than those found in the fruit’s home regions (they don’t travel well, apparently), and I haven’t had the heart to try any. Some things are just worth traveling for!


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