Mangosteen, an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, bears fruits with dark-purple rind and white flesh whose tangy sweetness and adorable appearance garner fans from all over the world. In Thai, mangosteen is called mangkhud, as in the recent super typhoon Manghut that made landfall in the Philippines and persisted destruction in Hong Kong and China.
Tea is often a euphemism for “powder.” Ground, surprisingly, from the leathery rind, mangosteen tea is known for its anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties due to containing the compound xanthones. Juice derived from cooked mangosteen shell, yet another form of “tea,” has been consumed in Asia for centuries; the fruit’s by-products are no funky commodities in the Western world either. Some of the Internet articles dated a decade ago reiterate that like myriad other health products, mangosteen tea’s benefits such as disease-fighting capabilities are yet to be validated. Believers continue to believe.
The packs of mangosteen tea I purchased in the Philippines last month do not come with preparation instructions. I savored fresh mangosteen for the very first time in Indonesia more than ten years ago; the flavor was indescribably scrumptious, so sweet and juicy that I presumed indelibility. When re-encountering mangosteen last month, I could recall neither the flavor nor how the tough shell could be squeezed, twisted, and crushed by hand to expose the sheltered edible flesh. No way will I forget again as I have found over-priced mangosteen, probably air-flown from Asia, at one local supermarket.
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