Sunday, March 8, 2009

SF Supermarket- Fresh mangosteen anyone?


Thuan Phat/SF Supermarket
6935 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111

My brother calls this store the "fake Ranch 99."  For those of you who don't know, Ranch 99 is a big chinese super market chain.  I don't know much about SF Supermarket and which chain came first, but at first glance, the logo of SF looks very much like the Ranch logo.

This supermarket also houses the Yum Cha cafe that I like to visit.  So after eating at Yum Cha the other day, I decided to stop inside and browse this supermarket.  It is very similar to other asian supermarkets.  They offer a variety of fresh/live seafood, and have a variety of Asian snacks, canned goods, produce, and cooking ingredients.

I glanced at some of the prices, and they seem about the same as the prices at Ranch 99, which is the store I usually go to for my Asian ingredients shopping.  There were some snacks and vegetables that were significantly cheaper, so I picked some up.

Here are some particular things I found interesting at this store that I haven't seen elsewhere:

Live bullfrogs! I've seen these before at other Asian supermarkets in the Bay Area, but not as any Asian supermarkets in San Diego.  Poor frogs.


Large drink section.  I was amazed by the variety of canned drinks and the relatively cheap prices. They have almost every tropical fruit  drink you can imagine (Lychee, mango, guava, tamarind, mangosteen, dragonfruit, etc.) 

I also really liked the design of these fruit sodas.  I thought the
clear can looked very pretty.  They taste as you might imagine they
taste.  The syrup of the fruit flavor combined with carbonation.

Finally, fresh mangosteens! I've never eaten a mangosteen, and never even knew of their existence until browsing the dried fruit section of Trader Joe's and seeing freeze dried versions of the fruit.  I had no idea they sold these in the US!  I was at the cash register and I saw these little net bags displayed.  They looked a bit like uncooked big chesnuts.  As I tried to get a closer look, the cashier informed me that they were fresh mangosteens! I was surprised and hesitant.  On the one hand, I had never tried them and was curious what they tasted like.  On the other hand, they were a bit expensive ($5.99/lb!) and they had the words "quarantine" written all over it, which kind of scared me off.  So I ended up not buying them.  However, once I got home, I did some research, and indeed, these fruits are allowed to be imported into the US, though they are hard to find.  So, I went back to SF market again, and this time I bought them!

From the outside, the shell looks pretty dull and brown. However, the bottom has a very unique, beautiful flower like design, which represents what it looks like inside.

The skin is fairly easy to peel away and you are left with a white fleshy fruit.

The fruit looks like a flower, much like the design on the bottom of its shell. It peels like a tangerine.

The look of the fruit reminds me of lychee.  However, the taste is not similar. The flesh of the fruit is soft, sweet, and juicy.  My first reaction was that it tasted very delicate and refreshing.  After a few more pieces, I think the taste resembles that of a juicy, very ripe white peach.  The texture is a bit harder than a ripe peach, more like a strawberry. Most of the pieces are seedless, but there is usually one larger flower petal piece that contains one large pit.  Overall verdict:  I enjoyed this fruit experience.  It is too bad that these little fruits are so hard to find in the US and are so expensive.

Here are some more photos:

 

2 Responses to “SF Supermarket- Fresh mangosteen anyone?”

  1. 1

    Phong My — November 18, 2009 @ 7:47 am

    Been to this store yesterday after my 10 long years absence since it was still called Vien Dong Supermarket. The store is clean with wide arrays of oriental food choices from dry goods to seafood items. You will love this store. The prices are cheap. The big bag of rice of 50 lbs. cost only $25 while in other store it’s $30+. Way to go SF Supermarket!

  2. 2

    Kirbie — November 18, 2009 @ 9:19 am

    Wow, 10 years is a long time. I agree that the new store is cleaner and nicer. And cheap prices!

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