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The Balance of the Universe lies with one Fruit

cooling mangosteens and heaty durians in balik pulau penang malaysia
Fresh mangosteens (and durians in the background)

June & July is durian season in Penang. Outstation Penangites return home, and tourists arrive, just to endulge in the "King of Fruits". But while durian gets all the attention, many other exotic tropical fruits are also in season like the red, soft spiky rambutans, giant jackfruits, and the sweet, grapefruit-flavored langsat (my favorite).

But none of them can stand up, and pacify, the durian, except of course, the "Queen of Fruits". The Mangosteen.

what does the number of petals on the bottom of a mangosteen mean?
The flower pattern on the bottom of a mangosteen is actually the scar of a flower that once grew there.  The number of petals tells you the number of white pulp segments inside. 

The plum-sized purple fruit has a thin, leathery outer rind, but a soft, crumbly inner rind that has a purple sap that will stain your fingers. The inner rind is full of antioxidants, but tastes extremely bitter. The real treat is the segmented, white pulp inside with its juicy, tangy-sweet flavor.

side profile image of open mangosteen

Mangosteen season in Penang is around July, so you will see road-side stalls, especially in Balik Pulau on the west side of the island, selling the King and Queen together.

According to Chinese medicine, specifically the yin-yang principle, eating 'heaty' (yang) foods like durian will warm the body into an unhealthy imbalance. To counteract this internal conflict, 'cooling' (yin) foods are needed, such as the ultra refreshing mangosteen.

So it is always the durian buffet first, followed by a feast of mangosteens. Nothing like durian on your breath and a purple mangosteen stain on your shirt to know that the universe is in balance.

I love durian, but I only eat it outside. If I had an empty, second refrigerator, I might reconsider.  Instead, to keep my yin-yang in balance, I decided to use another heaty item to mix with mangosteens - I accidentally found a bottle of vodka.

mangosteen cocktail juice with vodka and lemon juice

But it's funny, I felt oddly imbalanced after a few of these...

tropical cocktail yin and yang fruit

Mangosteen Cocktail by Season with Spice
Makes 2 glasses

What you’ll need:
8 mangosteens
2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tsp of raw or white sugar 
1 inch of young ginger
Ice cubes
2 shots of vodka (2 tablespoons = 1 shot)
1 can of soda water

The process:
1. Open the mangosteens and place the small, seedless white pulp pieces in a blender.  Set aside the large pulp pieces (the ones with a seed inside) for later, to eat while you drink the cocktail.
2. Add the lemon juice, sugar, ginger, and about 10 ice cubes, into the blender, and blend until smooth. 
3. Add a shot of vodka into each glass with a few more ice cubes   Then fill both glasses halfway with the blended mix, and top off with soda water.
4. Garnish with a lemon slice, and drink until your yin and yang are in balance (or you fall off your chair)

- Young ginger is a sweeter and milder version of the spice, and mixes well in cocktails.  If you don't have it, feel free to take a shortcut by replacing the ginger and soda water with a can of ginger ale.  
- Mangosteen pulp blends into a syrupy juice, and when mixed with soda water becomes a foamy and refreshing summer drink, with or without alcohol.


Rosa May said...
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Cakebrain said...

I have never had a fresh mangosteen! It looks so cool and refreshing! Glad you commented on my blog so I could find yours! Love the concept!

torviewtoronto said...

mangosteen favourite fruit love to have it all on its own as it is expensive so I try to enjoy it just the way it is.
love the presentation and combination of flavours sound wonderful

Teresa said...

I have never try any of these exotic fruits, unlucky me. But I like your humorous post about the balance you found with the mangosteen, if it was not the accidental bottle of vodka ;)

Mark said...

We met a few tourists on the west side of the island heading back to town, and they told us they couldn't find anything to do. Too bad they didn't take advantage of being in exactly the right place at the right time for a fresh-from-the-tree mangosteen buffet. Not something you can experience in many other countries.

Mark said...

Completely agree with you. Mangosteens are best enjoyed on their own. The only time to put them in a drink is when they are cheap and abundant like they are now in Penang (or by using the packaged juice or canned mangosteen)

Mark said...

Thank you Teresa, especially for reading the post. I enjoy writing more than photography, so always nice to hear feedback on my stories.

Nami said...

I've never tried Mangosteens and this drink looks so refreshing! There are so many wonderful fruits in Southeast Asia that we can't get in the US (or Japan in my case). I wish to travel there one day and have fresh fruits!!! Looks so delicious...

Mark said...

Thanks Nami, and I hope you can visit sometime. Southeast Asia is definitely the place for any foodie

flyer printing said...

I love mangosteens! It is tangy and sweet and its also fibrous which to think is a healthy fruit. I usually eat it raw and its juicy. (:

Cindy @ MijoRecipes said...

That's an interesting recipe! I never thought of making mangosteen into a drink. Thanks for sharing!

Maja Matus said...

I've never heard of mangosteen, thanks for sharing guys! Sounds amazing :)

Season with Spice said...

You'll be addicted Maja. A must try fruit

visitor said...

they welcomed us in cambodia with a tray of mangosteens and dragonfruit.it was very special.

Leesa said...

Thank you for this awesome recipe!! cant wait for tomorrow to go to China town to go get my mangosteen. My queen!

SeasonWithSpice said...

this is interesting. i recommend DeliFruits mangosteen juice that i found on www.delifreshusa.com. it tastes just perfect.

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