Every few days our team will scour Shanghai’s dining scene for scrumptious dishes that’ll fill your belly without emptying your savings. Not to discriminate, we’ll search everywhere from bicycle carts to chic venues with twenty-course tasting menus, knowing that any spot could have the next Dish of the Day.
Mangosteen season is upon us, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with mangosteens, your deprivation of one of the world’s greatest eats ends here. A tangerine-sized reddish-purple fruit resembling a small eggplant, the mangosteen grows on an evergreen tree native to Indonesia and Malaysia but can be found throughout Southeast Asia.
As for the flavor, imagine if you could bite into one of those heavenly fruits depicted by Roman murals of gods banqueting. Mangosteen embodies the best of several fruits with the sweet tang of mango, except more intense and without any mushiness, and the refreshing burst of a tangerine, minus the acidity. There’s even some tartness thrown into the mix to give it even more depth while the texture walks that fine line between firm and soft.
Most Shanghai fruit vendors offer mangosteens, but the best place to buy these balls of mouth-gasm is the Shanghua Pifa Shitang by the Tongchuan Fish Market. The vendors to the right of this warehouse, which supplies all of the city’s fruit mongers, boast the largest selection of mangosteens for only 10RMB per jin, less than half of what you’d pay at your typical fruit stand.
To open one, press the stem down like a drain stopper so it splits the husk, then find the split and pry the skin apart to reveal a cluster of bright white sections, and enjoy. Be careful, the larger nuggets may have pits. And buy around 15-20 of them – they’ll be decimated within the day.
Shanghua Pifa Shitang – 1354 Caoyang Lu, near Tongchuan Lu (曹杨路1354号, 近铜川路). Closest metro stop: Zhenru (真如) Line 11.
Last time on Dish of the Day: Drunken pigeon @ Ye Shanghai
See a complete list of our Dish of the Day series here.
Have a recommendation for Dish of the Day? Let Shanghaiist’s food editor Benjamin Cost know at [email protected]!