Only a 15 minute walk from my hotel, I arrived at about 7:30am to bustling world of local commerce. Fruits, veggies, rice, herbs and spices were being bought and sold from truck beds or right off the ground, where vendors would spread their goods for all to see. Additionally, live chickens, pigs and raw fish lay in the sun, a rank stench filling the open aired space.
When I got back to the hotel I laid out my fruit, taking and peeling an orange, eating it piece by piece and starring quizzically at the mystery fruit. Maybe I should have asked her how you go about eating these things? I had yoga class to get to thankfully, I guess I'll meditate on it.
By the time I got back I was ready to take a stab at the mystery fruit. Without a knife I figured the only option I had was to take a bite and hope not to brake a tooth. The skin gave easily as my teeth sunk into the pulp beneath. Instead of being rewarded with sweet, juicy goodness the taste was awful, bitter and chalky. I quickly spit it out and looked at the deep red flesh of the fruit. This cannot be right. But just as I was ready to toss it I noticed a white, moist core, under the thick red flesh of the fruit. So, with my hand this time I peeled away the flesh, which came away rather easily from the inner core until I held a white ball of what almost looked like a sticky clove of garlic. Bottoms up, I thought, I've certainly eaten stranger things in the past few months. The quarters peeled away similar to the manderine orange, and I popped one slimy piece into my mouth. Holy fruit of the gods! It's like a manderine orange and a peach had a baby and this delicious morsel is the fruits of their labor.
It's called the Mangosteen, is indigenous to Indonesia and SE Asia, and as I've discovered, is referred to as 'Queen of the tropical fruits.' It's juicy and tangy, and has a fibrous texture similar to that of mango. Besides it being a bit if a mess, my hands dyed red and sticky, it was delicious and well worth it. I will be enjoying many more mangosteens while I am here in Asia and will be highly disappointed if I cannot find them when I return home.
Hmm...what to try next?!