I think my dreams have come true! I spotted some mangosteens at the fruit stand next to Pho Tu Do. They were in plain sight. As I was inspecting them, the vendor must have noticed my skeptical look on my face. She started telling me that they're fresh, not frozen. I asked her if she was sure. She said that all the other Chinatown vendors have been selling the frozen ones really cheaply at $7/bag. She said this was different -- the real deal from Thailand.
Well, I'm really obsessed with mangosteens. What she said seemed a bit implausible as I knew that fresh ones were going to be allowed from Puerto Rico and not Thailand. However, my yearning for true mangosteens was stronger than my skepticism. And don't even get me started on the frozen ones. They are absolutely bitter and nasty -- no substitute for the fresh ones. They shouldn't even sell them. People who have never had fresh mangosteens before probably will think that mangosteens are disgusting. I've purchased the frozen ones before only to spit them out after a couple of bites and throw out the entire bag.
So I purchased a few to try. They weren't cheap, coming out to a bit more than $10 for four mangosteens! I was impatient and couldn't wait until I got home. So there I was in Chinatown on the corner of Elizabeth and Grand by the trash can trying to balance all my bags while peeling a mangosteen. The final verdict? Well, they were definitely not the same frozen ones that all the vendors have been selling. I didn't feel then need to spit them out. It was sweet, juicy and delicious. However, there was a slight bitterness and astringency that I didn't taste when I had fresh ones in Thailand. I'm thinking that it was probably adversely affected by the long journey. Yet, this is good news for all you mangosteen lovers!