This week the first mangosteens of the season have appeared in the fruit shops and the wet market – a sure sign that the weather is warming up and summer might appear eventually.
Mangosteens (shānzhú 山竹) are a most amazing fruit – the outside is black-purple and hard like a seed. Trying to cut it open with a knife is fraught with danger! But if you feel the outside very carefully you will find one or two softer spots in the hard skin that allow you to pull off a small piece and gain access to the inside.
And inside – wow! The purple skin is lined with soft crimson cushioning, to protect the delicate creamy flesh. Mangosteen tastes like nothing else in the world – custard apple with hints of strawberry, pear and pineapple. Sublime.