On a recent trip to Thailand with OUT Adventures, we spent a day at a cooking school outside Chiang Mai. While the cooking school, Cooking@Home, was all-together amazing (really! I never thought cooking Thai food could be so easy…), it was the dessert that they brought out at the end which made me swoon. Mangosteens.
Oh how I love these sweet, sweet fruits.
If you haven’t had a mangosteen before, you haven’t tasted the most delicious thing to ever grace our beautiful planet. Mangosteens are so famously delicious that they’ve been proclaimed the “Queen of Fruits.”
Mangosteens play queen to the stinky durian‘s King. While some swear by the deliciousness of both, my taste buds are ever after the queen. But you’re probably wondering, what do mangosteens actually take like?
Trying to Describe the Mangosteen Taste
I’ll see if I can describe them without being too superfluous – and without using the phrase “tastes like heaven.” But don’t hold your breath.
With a ripe mangosteen, you simply eat the fleshy interior – not the shell/skin. They’re quite juicy so can sometimes be messy (but don’t fret – you’ll want to lick your fingers anyways). Mangosteens taste like a hybrid between lychees, peaches and manna from heaven.
Nothing short of amazing, to be honest. (Sorry…I couldn’t describe the flavor without resorting to hyperbole.)
Mangosteens may be encased in a hard outer shell but that’s just to keep the pure goodness safely within. The best way to eat a mangosteen is to cut down the middle, without cutting all the way through.
You don’t want the fleshy inside to fall apart. Keep in mind that the outer shell is a good centimeter thick in most cases so it’s quite tough.
But the treasure inside is worth the patience in preparing a mangosteen for eating. Sometimes the fleshy interior will have a hard bit – the seed. You can either eat this or not – up to you. But personally I would never waste even just a tiny bit of mangosteen, this god of fruits!
Where to Get Mangosteens
Because really, once you eat one, you won’t want to stop eating them. Mangosteens can be hard to find outside of tropical climates—but not impossible.
I’ve even on occasion found them at Vietnamese supermarkets in Germany and in the United States. Amazing!
I don’t know if mangosteens have any health benefits, to be honest. But with what I consider the most delicious fruit — nah! the most delicious FOOD — in the world, this is is the one thing I’m always on the lookout for.
When to Get Mangosteens
Mangosteen season usually begins in April or May in Southeast Asia. While visiting Thailand in April, I didn’t necessarily see mangosteens at every fruit stall but it was relatively easy-to-find.
We even sampled it as part of a Bangkok food tour in April.
Descriptions of the Mangosteen Taste
Tell me: have you tasted the glorious mangosteen? How would you describe it’s taste? What other exotic or tropical fruits have you discovered on your holidays?
Collecting notes from other friends who love the mangosteen taste, these are the typical qualities everyone mentions in particular:
A Special Kind of Sweetness
Mangosteen is known for its natural sweetness, which is similar to a blend of ripe strawberries and lychee. The sweetness is subtle and not overpowering, making it very enjoyable.
Tangy and Tart
While it is primarily sweet, mangosteen also has a mild tartness, reminiscent of citrus fruits like oranges or tangerines. This slight tanginess adds a refreshing element to its taste.
Creamy and Juicy
The flesh of a ripe mangosteen is exceptionally juicy and has a creamy texture, similar to a ripe peach or a custard. This creaminess contributes to its luxurious mouthfeel.
Some people describe the taste of mangosteen as having subtle hints of peach, pear, and vanilla. These nuances make it a multi-layered and intriguing fruit.
Mangosteen has a delicate, floral aroma that adds to its overall appeal. Some compare its fragrance to a combination of rose, lavender, and tropical blossoms.
The fruit’s edible inner part is sweet and creamy, but there is a slightly bitter taste in the rind or skin. However, the bitter component is usually not eaten, as it surrounds the delectable flesh.
Overall, mangosteen is prized for its balance of sweetness, tartness, creaminess, and subtle complexities. It’s often considered one of the most delicious fruits in the world, and its unique flavor is a true culinary delight.
I’m obsessed and if you get to try a mangosteen in its natural habitat during its natural mangosteen ripe season, trust me when I say you’ll be in for a real treat!