The mangostino, known in English as the purple mangosteen, is a tropical fruit native to Indonesia. Although it generally seems to be more popular in Southeast Asia, the mangostino is also widely available in the farmers’ markets of Bogotá.
The purple mangosteen has a dark purple exterior, a violet-red exocarp, and a white flesh. Although the fruit is of similar size to an apple, the edible part is only the size of a small clementine. The first time I sampled the mangostino, a vendor left some of the exocarp on the flesh, and upon biting into it my tongue instantly became dry and numb. I was hesitant to give the fruit another try, but Seth convinced me otherwise. Upon further inspection, I learned that the flavor of the mangostino is actually very mild, kind of like that of a grape. The flesh supposedly boasts strong anti-inflammatory properties, a claim which is no doubt responsible for the purple mangosteen’s “superfruit” label and subsequent price hike. However, it seems the fruit’s level of antioxidants is, in reality, no higher than that of an apple, an orange, or a banana. The mangostino is beautiful and delicious, to be sure, but I think I would prefer to save my pesos for some of nature’s more nutrient-rich candies.