Taiwanese swarm Carrefour to buy first imported Thai mangosteens in 16 years

Mangosteen mania: Taiwanese rush to buy first mangosteens imported from Thailand in 16 years

Mangosteen fruit. (Pexels.com photo)

Mangosteen fruit. (Pexels.com photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Nearly 100 customers eagerly lined up at a Carrefour store in Taipei on Sunday (Sept. 8) to be the first to buy mangosteens (山竹) imported from Thailand in 16 years.

With the title of the "Queen of all Fruits," the Council of Agriculture in May this year announced that it would conditionally begin importing the sweet fruit from Thailand, after a 16-year ban. However, the first batch of 1,000 kilograms of mangosteens to arrive was rejected due to packaging issues on Friday (Sept. 6).

Fortunately, the first batch of mangosteens to successfully pass inspection arrived at Carrefour on Saturday (Sept. 7) and went on sale on Sunday at its Neihu branch. Such was the anticipation of a chance to finally taste the forbidden fruit, shoppers lined up as early as 7:30 a.m. outside the French hypermarket chain store.

Customers lining up to buy mangosteens in Carrefour. (CNA photo)

In short order, all 138 boxes, each of which contained 5 mangosteens and weighed a total of 350 grams, were sold out, reported UDN. The boxes were sold at a discounted price of NT$199 (original price NT$299), with a limit of two boxes per customer.

The import of Thai mangosteens was banned in 2003 after problems with types of fruit flies, but the authorities in the Southeast Asian country have worked hard to improve the quality of testing, leading the Council of Agriculture to reopen Taiwan’s borders to the fruit.

Because the mangosteen season is very short and the fruits are difficult to preserve, they are being shipped by air cargo to Taiwan. After deducting on-site displays and damaged fruits, a total of 138 boxes went on sale at 10 a.m. at Carrefour, and all were snatched up by customers within hours, according to the report.

First customer in line. (Carrefour photo)

It is estimated that large quantities of the exotic fruit will arrive on Taiwan's shores from Thailand on Wednesday (Sept. 11), reported UDN. More stores across Taiwan are expected to start selling the fruit just in time for the barbecues over the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.

Marylin Su (蘇小真) Carrefour Taiwan Foundation Executive Chief CSR & Communication Director Spokesperson told the news agency that mangosteens are a must-eat commodity for many tourists in Southeast Asia. She said the fruits are sought out for their sweet and sour taste and fragrant aroma.

Employee hands out mangosteens to customers. (Carrefour photo)

Employee hands out mangosteens to customers. (CNA photo)

Working sorting through Mangosteens at plant in Thailand. (CNA photo)

Carrefour employee holding plate of mangosteens. (Carrefour photo)