Saturday, June 5, 2010

Far East Meets Southeast

Magnet # 260:  Purple Mangosteen

Material:  Resin

Purchased By:  Me

I had a really great time today at the 15th Annual Savannah Asian Festival with a couple of friends.  It usually falls on the first weekend in June at the Civic Center in downtown and this is the third year I've attended.  This is one event I look forward to all year and I enjoyed myself once again.  It pretty much consists of three parts - performances on stage by people in traditional Asian costumes, a market area filled with stalls of all sorts of goods from around the continent, and vendors selling all sorts of Asian food.

There are quite a few local Asian restaurants that sell their food at the Savannah Asian Festival and it's a nice way to sample their menus.  Of course, they still give fairly large amounts of food, so one of my friends and I split our meals.  She got a dish that was kind of like a gyro from Shawarma King and I got a sampler of all of the foods from Taste of India. Unfortunately, it was a little hard to find seating, as people tended to hoard chairs.  But the food was still fantastic.  I have to say, based on what we tried, we would absolutely eat at both establishments.  It would have been nice to try some more food, but I was way too stuffed by then.  We didn't get to see all of the performers, but we watched the Matsuriza Taiko Drummers from Japan and they were very impressive.  And I was hoping to find magnets at the bazaar, but it didn't happen this year, darnit!  I saw lots of jewelry, clothing, and other trinkets, but had no luck getting my fix.

I was, however, able to find a few magnets at last year's festival, and this was one of them.  I bought it at the Vietnamese booth, where a very helpful worker dug it out for me.  They had some pretty normal fruits on the table, like bananas and oranges, but I wanted something a bit more exotic.  So he searched under the table and finally found this one.  And when I asked him what kind of fruit it was, he had to ask others behind the booth, but he finally gave me a name - mangosteen.  I've since learned it grows mainly in warm climates and is believed to have originated in Indonesia.  There are restrictions on its importation that can make it a tough find in some countries.  For example, getting a fresh mangosteen here in the United States can be both difficult and pricey - a pound can go for as much as forty-five dollars in New York City.  But the demand for mangosteens is not a new craze - in fact, there's even a legend that Queen Victoria offered a 100 pound reward to anyone who could bring her a fresh sample of the fruit.  Trying it might not be a bad idea - mangosteens are said to be great sources of potassium and have superior antioxidant quality.  In fact, some are even suggesting they may be superfruits.  There's even a Golden Tulip Mangosteen Resort & Spa in Phuket, Thailand, so it seems the fruit has a pretty positive image in the Far East.  Well, I think I will give this fruit a try if I ever run across it - even if I can't find an actual mangosteen, I might be able to try a juice made with it.  Their taste is said to be sweet and tangy and somewhat like that of a peach.  And some are predicting that it will one day be a fruit commonly found in most grocery stores.  Who knows - maybe they'll have it at next year's Savannah Asian Festival - but even if they don't, I'll be there and I'm sure I'll have a good time once again. 

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