The tropical plants Garcinia cambogia and Hibiscus subdariffa produce hydroxycitric acid (HCA), of which the absolute configurations are (2S,3S) and (2S,3R), respectively. (2S,3S)-HCA is an inhibitor of ATP-citrate lyase, which is involved in fatty acid synthesis. (2S,3R)-HCA inhibits pancreatic alpha-amylase and intestinal alpha-glucosidase, leading to a reduction in carbohydrate metabolism. In this study, we review current knowledge on the structure, biological occurrence, and physiological properties of HCA. The availability of HCA is limited by the restricted habitat of its source plants and the difficulty of stereoselective organic synthesis. Hence, in our recent study, thousands of microbial strains were screened and finally two bacterial strains were, for the first time, found to produce trace amounts of HCA. The HCA variants produced were the Hibiscus-type (2S,3R) enantiomer. Subsequent genome shuffling rapidly generated a mutant population with improved HCA yield relative to the parent strain of bacteria. These bacteria are a potential alternative source of natural HCA.