Mangosteens are regarded by many as the most delicious of all fruit. Some people have a deep passion for them. R.W. Apple Jr. wrote in the New York Times: “No other fruit, for me, is so thrillingly, intoxicatingly luscious, so evocative of the exotic East, with so precise a balance of acid and sugar as a ripe mangosteen...Merely typing the name makes my mouth water. Whenever in my travels I spot a mound of those precious orbs in a market place, my heart pounds. Mangosteens are about the size of a tangerine. They have a leathery deep purple or maroon skin with moist, fragrant segments of white, fruit inside One is supposed to cool off by eating mangosteens. They have traditionally been eaten after durians, which are regarded as a hot fruit.

Thought to be native to the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas in Indonesia, the mangosteen comes from an evergreen tree. Smaller than an apple, and purple, topped by thick, shiny green leaves and a sturdy stem, the fruits are purple, creamy, described as citrus with a hint of peach. Once opened, the fruit reveals a white pulp divided into four or more segments.

According to The fruit usually ripens between May and September. It’s possible to gauge the fruit’s ripeness by the deepness of its colour (rich purple is ideal), while the shell should be slightly soft to the touch – but not overly so. The mangosteen is rich in xanthones, which are thought to help allergies, infections, cholesterol levels, inflammation, skin disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, and fatigue. They are also extremely high in fiber, with about five grams of fiber per serving. On top of that they are rich in antioxidants, with some scientists even suggesting it can lower risk against certain human diseases, such as cancer.

Mangosteen Adulation

In his book “Tropical Fruit”, the British-born Malaysian writer Desmond Tate wrote: “the mangosteen is held to be the most delectable of all the tropical fruits. There is no doubt abut the luxury of its taste. It has won unstinted praise down the ages from all who have encountered it.” Gay Bilson, one of Australia’s most famous cooks said that after trying the fruit for the time she “burst into tears at the sheer perfection of it, almost pushed to mawkish poetry.” Queen Victoria reportedly offered a knighthood to anyone who could bring her a edible specimen but spoilage kept prize from being rewarded.

Some have said the flavor is like a combination of a strawberry and a grape. The great botanist and plant explorer David Fairchild wrote: “It is so delicate that it melts in the mouth like ice cream. The flavor is quite indescribably delicious. There is nothing to mar the perfection of the fruit, unless it be the that the juice from the rind forms an indelible stain on a white napkin. Even the seeds are partly or wholly lacking and when present are very thin and small.”

Legend has it that Queen Victoria offered a reward of 100 pounds to anyone who would find and deliver her the fresh fruit. It’s not known where the fruit originated, but it is believe to be around Indonesia. The fruit grows wild in parts of the Malaysian forest, and has been cultivated in much of Southeast Asia. [Source:

Mangosteen Consumption

Mangosteens are sold in large quantities for a relatively cheap price in Southeast Asia. They are woven together with braided strips of bamboo and hung from roofs. Most people eat them plain. In some places in southern Thailand they are used in vegetarian curry. The darker the color the better the taste. Good ones should have no bare spots and should give way a little when squeezed. At the stem end are four waxy sepals, At the other end are four to eight woody lobes. The number of lobes is equal to the number of segment inside.

Mangosteens are often sold with durians and rambutans (another cool fruit). The three of them are supposed to harmonize like yin and yang. While mangosteens are often called the queen of fruits, durians are regarded as the king.

Mangosteen have a thick skin and creamy white segments on the inside. Discard the skin and enjoy the delicious unique flavor of the flesh. The name and the shape of this fruit does not look attractive to those who first see it. The fruit is a bit smaller than a tennis ball and has a dark violet rough skin. When you peel off the upper part of the fruit with a small sharp knife, you can see the transparent white pulp inside arranged in equal segments. While lifting each segment of the transparent white meat to your mouth you can imagine the light and pure refreshment that leaves a little sour taste lingering in your mouth. +++

Mangosteen Agriculture

Mangosteens are popular in Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, but is commonly found as far away as Beijing The fruit is believed to have originated in Malaysia or the Sundra Islands of Indonesia. They are raised outside of Southeast Asia is in southern India, some islands in the Caribbean and Queensland in Australia.

Mangosteens come from a slow-growing evergreen tree with glossy, dark green leaves and pyramid-shaped crowns. The trees grow best in places with heavy rainfall and high humidity and can reach a height of 40 feet. Mature tress can yield up to 1,000 fruit a year. The trees can not tolerate temperatures below 40°F, which restricts their range.

Mangosteens keep better durians. They can not be legally imported into the United States. They are sometimes infested with Mediterranean fruit flies. This ban may end with a ruling by the U.S. Agricultural department allowing the sale of fruit that carry the flies if they are irradiated.

World’s Top Mango, Mangosteen and Guava Producing and Exporting Countries

World’s Top Producers of Mangoes, Mangosteens, Guavas (2020): 1) India : 24748000 tonnes; 2) Indonesia: 3617271 tonnes; 3) Mexico: 2373111 tonnes; 4) China: 2368180 tonnes; 5) Pakistan: 2344647 tonnes; 6) Brazil: 2135304 tonnes; 7) Malawi: 1938066 tonnes; 8) Thailand: 1657589 tonnes; 9) Bangladesh: 1448396 tonnes; 10) Egypt: 1395244 tonnes; 11) Vietnam: 1224576 tonnes; 12) Nigeria: 894103 tonnes; 13) Kenya: 819276 tonnes; 14) Mali: 793220 tonnes; 15) Philippines: 753103 tonnes; 16) Sudan: 669667 tonnes; 17) Peru: 517919 tonnes; 18) Nepal: 483905 tonnes; 19) Tanzania: 437739 tonnes; 20) Yemen: 368494 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Producers (in terms of value) of Mangoes, Mangosteens, Guavas (2019): 1) India: Int.$16104711,000 ; 2) Indonesia: Int.$2070230,000 ; 3) China: Int.$1517415,000 ; 4) Mexico: Int.$1505901,000 ; 5) Pakistan: Int.$1426452,000 ; 6) Malawi: Int.$1309106,000 ; 7) Brazil: Int.$1255755,000 ; 8) Thailand: Int.$1023041,000 ; 9) Egypt: Int.$925867,000 ; 10) Bangladesh: Int.$915056,000 ; 11) Vietnam: Int.$727513,000 ; 12) Nigeria: Int.$594836,000 ; 13) Kenya: Int.$545359,000 ; 14) Mali: Int.$512038,000 ; 15) Philippines: Int.$473751,000 ; 16) Sudan: Int.$416606,000 ; 17) Colombia: Int.$346329,000 ; 18) Peru: Int.$340002,000 ; 19) Haiti: Int.$285613,000 ; [An international dollar (Int.$) buys a comparable amount of goods in the cited country that a U.S. dollar would buy in the United States.]

World’s Top Exporters of Mangoes, Mangosteens, Guavas (2020): 1) Mexico: 421636 tonnes; 2) Thailand: 391280 tonnes; 3) Brazil: 243466 tonnes; 4) Peru: 239391 tonnes; 5) Netherlands: 239007 tonnes; 6) India: 128018 tonnes; 7) Pakistan: 107195 tonnes; 8) Vietnam: 61403 tonnes; 9) Spain: 60159 tonnes; 10) Ecuador: 60102 tonnes; 11) Cambodia: 41234 tonnes; 12) Belgium: 28490 tonnes; 13) Yemen: 28034 tonnes; 14) Côte d'Ivoire: 27806 tonnes; 15) Kenya: 24132 tonnes; 16) Indonesia: 23248 tonnes; 17) Philippines: 17885 tonnes; 18) United Arab Emirates: 16497 tonnes; 19) Israel: 15845 tonnes; 20) Guatemala: 15734 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Exporters (in value terms) of Mangoes, Mangosteens, Guavas (2020): 1) Thailand: US$570388,000; 2) Netherlands: US$474624,000; 3) Mexico: US$456707,000; 4) Peru: US$280542,000; 5) Brazil: US$247957,000; 6) Vietnam: US$183459,000; 7) India: US$137459,000; 8) Spain: US$115385,000; 9) Pakistan: US$101454,000; 10) Belgium: US$68552,000; 11) Philippines: US$64971,000; 12) Ecuador: US$44122,000; 13) Ghana: US$42594,000; 14) Indonesia: US$32850,000; 15) Cote d’Ivoire: US$32499,000; 16) Portugal: US$30440,000; 17) Germany: US$30103,000; 18) Israel: US$27837,000; 19) Taiwan: US$26432,000; 20) France: US$24120,000

World’s Top Mango, Mangosteen and Guava Importing Countries

World’s Top Importers of Mangoes, Mangosteens, Guavas (2019): 1) United States: 493030 tonnes; 2) Netherlands: 250253 tonnes; 3) Germany: 91191 tonnes; 4) United Arab Emirates: 89852 tonnes; 5) United Kingdom: 77946 tonnes; 6) France: 70350 tonnes; 7) Vietnam: 63415 tonnes; 8) Spain: 59738 tonnes; 9) Saudi Arabia: 54723 tonnes; 10) Malaysia: 38029 tonnes; 11) Portugal: 34525 tonnes; 12) Belgium: 33300 tonnes; 13) Russia: 31119 tonnes; 14) Thailand: 26909 tonnes; 15) Singapore: 25548 tonnes; 16) Laos: 23246 tonnes; 17) Nepal: 21433 tonnes; 18) Iran: 19954 tonnes; 19) South Korea: 18840 tonnes; 20) Oman: 18147 tonnes [Source: FAOSTAT, Food and Agriculture Organization (U.N.),]

World’s Top Importers (in value terms) of Mangoes, Mangosteens, Guavas (2019): 1) United States: US$506684,000; 2) Netherlands: US$400371,000; 3) Germany: US$195105,000; 4) Vietnam: US$181818,000; 5) United Kingdom: US$170395,000; 6) France: US$150717,000; 7) Spain: US$108794,000; 8) United Arab Emirates: US$86503,000; 9) South Korea: US$72355,000; 10) Russia: US$70654,000; 11) Portugal: US$64766,000; 12) Belgium: US$55959,000; 13) Saudi Arabia: US$47818,000; 14) Switzerland: US$45759,000; 15) Italy: US$39673,000; 16) Japan: US$34477,000; 17) Hong Kong: US$32068,000; 18) Singapore: US$31569,000; 19) Poland: US$30546,000; 20) Oman: US$22382,000

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, The Guardian, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Global Viewpoint (Christian Science Monitor), Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, NBC News, Fox News and various books and other publications.

Last updated April 2022

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