Shopping For Foodies, 2013: Part 1


It’s that giving-and-getting time of year again. The Internet is ringing with endorsements of $410 kitchen scales, crazy expensive coffee gear, and gold-plated liquor-pouring gizmos. Time to take the price tags down a notch with my second annual holiday gift guide.

I’ve been banging my head against the wall this month trying to drum up fresh ideas for my own kith and kin, so let me direct your attention to the first item of business: last year’s ideas. They’re old, but they’re still good! Maras pepper didn’t all of a sudden lose its mojo. It didn’t even become a trend!

That said, I’m going to try to come up with new ideas that are even better.

And my first one is a sure winner. How often can you introduce someone to a fruit they’ve probably never tasted, which has a lore stretching back to Queen Victoria’s supposed offer of a knighthood to anyone who could deliver a fresh specimen to her, and all while spending less than $10/pound?

Not very often. But this year I’ve noticed that the celebrated mangosteen is popping up quite frequently on the shelves of Hung Vuong Supermarket (1122 Washington Avenue). Are they pricier than the first ones I ever bought, virtually for free, during the 1997-98 financial crisis in Indonesia? Yep. But $8 or $9 a pound is well within reason for an exotic treat.

Bonus gift idea: Suck on the mangosteen’s translucent segments while watching “The Fruit Hunters”–a documentary that came out late last year exploring the world of obsessive rare fruit seekers. You can stream it on Amazon for $3.99.


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  • tjt

    in the spirit of not always hating on foobooz, this post is very cool. Never had mangosteen, and tempted to head down to south philly tomorrow to try it. Thanks for the tip.

    • Trey Popp

      Glad you liked this, tjt. I wanted to just quickly add that although I’ve seen mangosteens down there with increasing frequency — including the two most recent times I went prior to writing this post — the market didn’t have any when I went by this past weekend. So it’s still a fingers-crossed sort of thing.

      If they don’t have mangosteens when you go, there are other great fruits to check out, though. Rambutans are good. They also sell good pomelos, plus a sort of citrus that’s even bigger and shaped like a bell, which I also like, though I don’t know its name (which is only ever posted in Chinese characters).

      Whatever the case, happy fruit eating!