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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)

Notes:
- 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.