Chicken salad craze drives up unripe mangosteen prices by 30%

By Hong Chau   April 11, 2024 | 05:00 pm PT
Chicken salad craze drives up unripe mangosteen prices by 30%
Unripe mangosteens grown in the Mekong Delta region. Photo from Facebook
Prices of peeled unripe mangosteens have surged by 20-30% from a year ago to VND700,000-800,000 (US$28-32) per kilogram as people buy them to add to chicken salad.

The prices come as a shock to Oanh of HCMC’s District 2.

"Unripe mangosteen can only be found during this time of the year, but even so I find VND800,000 per kilogram to be too expensive," she said.

The unripe fruit is used in mangosteen chicken salad, a dish that has been growing in popularity in recent years, and as a result there is usually a demand spike from April to June.

But despite the high prices, Loan, a trader in Binh Duong Province, said unripe mangosteens are still more in demand than ripe ones.

"I receive hundreds of orders daily but cannot meet them all because the supply is limited."

Ripe mangosteens are much cheaper at just VND70,000-85,000 per kilogram.

Orders for unripe mangosteens have doubled since last year but the supply remains limited, businesses said.

Despite the exorbitant prices, many farmers are hesitant to harvest the unripe fruit in large quantities because early harvesting could negatively affect the next season's crop.

Mangosteen is a specialty of the Mekong Delta and is often called the "queen" of fruits.

In the past people could only have mangosteen chicken salad when they visited areas where the fruit is grown.

In recent years it has been consumed all over the country.

The fruit is mainly grown in Can Tho City and Binh Duong, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Tra Vinh, Hau Giang, Soc Trang, and Dong Nai provinces.

Nearly 50,000 tons are harvested annually on over 10,000 hectares of orchards.

Thanks to the fruit’s burgeoning prices farmers earn profits of VND300-500 million per hectare, currently the second highest after durian, according to provincial agricultural departments.

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