I have to tell you about this picture.
At the time that I took it, back when we first arrived, in Bangkok, I really only recognized the: bananas, top left, tamarind, top middle, and various oranges. (Which are oranges, or tangerines or something, though they are green.)
Since then, I've had the wonderful experience of tasting many of these fruits.
On the bottom right are rambutan. These are like a litchi on steroids. They taste rather melony. They're good, look slightly like muppets, and are complicated to eat.
The pink things in the plastic in the middle are dragonfruit. They're not my favorite, because they remind me of kiwi, in texture, and I seem to have a strange reaction to kiwi. They're not like kiwi in taste, but they do have little black kiwi-like seeds all through them. Chinua loves dragonfruit. They can be white or bright purple inside. The purple ones stain. Watch out!
On the right in the middle are Longkong. Wow. These are amazing. You have to be very careful when you peel them, because there is a bitter juice in the skin that you don't want to get all mingled with the fruit. The lady who taught my cooking class taught me this, when we were walking through the market.
She also showed me that when you are choosing between yellow mangos, you shouldn't squeeze them to see if they are ripe, because that will anger the vendors. And then perhaps they will spit at you and pull our your hairs. You choose by color. (But really, they probably won't spit at you and pull out your hairs. Unless you STOMP on the mangos. Maybe then they would, but more likely, one of those impeccably dressed Thai policemen would come and gesture with his white traffic directing gloves for you to follow him. And then where would you go? I don't know. That would be bad. Don't get rough with the mangos.)
But I digress. (Actually, I don't know what those things in the sleeves are. Maybe they are papayas. They could be mangos, for all I know. And then that rabbit trail would be right on point. And Thai cops really do have the coolest uniforms.)
Anyways. Please pay attention. What I'm about to tell you is really very important. Do you see this picture?
Here it is again, in case you forgot because it was too long ago.
Do you see the purple fruit in the middle on the bottom? When I took the photo, I was entranced by pretty colors and shapes. I snapped my little pic and walked away. What I should have done is taken every single one of those purple globes and put them in a giant sack. Then I should have walked home to my hotel room and locked the door, and Chinua and the kids and I could have eaten every single one.
They're called mangosteen. And they are Plato's fruit. They are the fruit that all other fruit were shaped to emulate, the ideal fruit. They are the best freaking thing I have ever tasted.
And they are out of season. We had a few of them once, and then never again. It was the end.
I have the photo. To taunt me. And I'm telling you this whole fruit story because if you are ever walking down a street and you happen to see this pile of fruit, do NOT repeat the mistake I made, and say, "How pretty!" and then move on. Sure, try the longkong and the dragonfruit. There are also longan which are good, and the mangos are amazing.
But if you can only have one, eat the mangosteen. You won't regret it.