Last year, I wrote about the great lengths the boyfriend and I will go to to find fresh tropical fruits like the ones he grew up eating in Thailand. This may or may not have involved a trip to Maui, intense questioning of the locals about their fruits, and exhaustive searches of any and all farmer’s markets on the island.
Yes, we really love our tropical fruits…
Fortunately for all the Hawaiians out there, these extreme measures weren’t necessary this year as we were lucky enough to find a more local source of these precious fruits!
It all started a few weeks ago when Natty of ThaiTable mentioned that she had seen fresh mangosteen at Nak’s Oriental Market, a small family-owned Asian grocery in Menlo Park. You can guess how excited we were by this information, right?
Unfortunately by the time I got off work and made it to the market that day, they were sold out. The owners are amazing, though, and promised that they would call me as soon as they got some more mangosteen in. About a week later and jackpot!! The boyfriend and I rushed to the store teeming with excitement to find a huge basket piled high with gorgeous purple mangosteen.
These divine little fruits were so fresh it almost felt like we were eating them on the streets of Thailand. In fact, I’m a little embarrassed by how quickly we ate them all, but hey, you have to eat them before they go bad, right? And we did share a few…. not many, but a few.
After buying the store out of mangosteen, we gathered ourselves enough to notice the lovely rambutan sitting in a smaller basket right next to them. Not ones to say no to tropical fruits, we then turned our attention to these strange-appearing, but absolutely delicious fruits. They were the freshest we’ve found in a while – sweet, juicy, and completely refreshing – so we had to bring some of these home as well.
And when we emerged from our rambutan-induced frenzy, we finally spotted the enormous 20-pound jackfruit on the counter in front of us. So we brought him home too… He got to enjoy sitting on the patio chair until I had time to cut into him and remove his delicious little pods of fruit.
After all but buying Nak’s out of their tropical fruit supply, the boyfriend and I decided to spend the rest of the day in San Francisco. We meandered our way to the San Francisco Botanical Gardens to enjoy a leisurely afternoon of flowers and photos and you’ll never guess what we spotted… None other than a mangosteen tree!
It’s like the Universe was trying to tell us that there’s fresh mangosteen and other tropical fruits to be found in the Bay Area, if only you look for them. And now that we’ve found a local market that carries them thanks to the kind tip from a friend, I’m hopeful that the boyfriend and I can enjoy these fruits more often.
Either that, or I’ll have to wait another 8 to 10 years for this little mangosteen tree to produce fruit and go for another visit to the Botanical Gardens… at night… when no one’s looking… (just kidding :) I try not to break the law — even for fresh tropical fruit!)