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Tropical Fruit Installment 19: An Ode to Mango

A friend in college, who had grown up in the Phillippines, had one thing to say to me before I moved to Asia: “You know nothing about mangoes.” She went on to tell me how the one, maybe two, easily found varieties we get in the US are sub-par. Needless to say, within about a week of being in Indonesia, I realized she was completely and totally right. Not only are there hundreds of varities of mangoes, they can taste like completely different fruits. Really I could write a Dr. Seuss rhyme here…

Mango Vendor

So in my effort to get to 20 tropical fruit posts, here’s my ode to a fruit most people know, but don’t really know. When mango season arrives across Asia, there’s an excitment among the vendors. And the fruit isn’t necessarily cheap. I would sometimes pay almost $2USD for a large, perfect mango in Jakarta. Often street vendores give you a spicy salt that you can dip the fruit into.

Piles of Mango

It seems that India wins on the mango craze. The Alphonso variety is considered the creme de la creme — here’s a NYTimes story on mangoes in India. And here is a CNNGo piece about the same area where the very expensive prized variety comes from. I have yet to try it.

Slices of Heaven

Sliced

This giant Thai variety was going untouched in a Jakarta market because of how expensive they were:

Giant Thai Mango

When I was in little India in Singapore, tables were lined with neatly arranged mangoes:

Red Bowls

Bin Full

I never quite mastered how to perfectly cut a mango. Instead, I was would stand over my kitchen sink and try not to stain my clothing too badly.

Seasonal

Now that I am back living in the US, my search for mangoes takes me to the little Saigons and Chinatowns of America. This past weekend I ventured to Eden Center in Falls Church, Virgina. A crate of 13 mangoes imported from Mexico only set me back $13. Not quite the same as Asia, but they were pretty damn close.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Best mangoes in the world come from Pakistan. Honest :-)

    August 7, 2013
    • Do you remember the variety? I’m always on the look out for a good mango (she writes while eating mango).

      August 7, 2013
      • I’m afraid not. But they were the best I’ve tasted. If I go again I’ll find out.

        August 7, 2013
  2. I have to vote for the Queenslander…..especially as we can grow them in our own backyards :)

    August 7, 2013
    • Mangoes in your backyard? If that were possible in the US I would have no lawn — all mango trees!

      August 7, 2013
      • We prefer to eat our mangoes as they should be here, seasonally which is from about November to February/March. You need a big tree to get a decent crop which most back yards can’t accommodate but my 7 ft one can produce about three if we get to them before the parrots! :) you can have too much of a good thing though, maybe its a blessing they are expensive to buy!

        August 7, 2013
  3. What’s amazing about mangoes is the variety of dishes that can be made with them! Living in India, am spoilt with the different types and preparations. A favourite is a mango curry made by my partner’s mom with coconut, served chilled on hot rice. Yum!!

    August 10, 2013
    • That sounds delicious. Is the curry spicy? Do you have a recipe you could share?

      August 22, 2013
  4. Mangga Madu is our favourite and we are so lucky as we have 2 large trees growing in the little field that we rent in Bali. This year I have to get a juicer and an ice cream maker purely so that I can make the most from the bumper crop. I’m hopeless at cutting them too! Did you ever try the mango ice lollies that they sell here? Divine and at under a 100 calories, no guilt trip! :D

    August 12, 2013
    • I wish I had had a nice juicer while living in Jakarta! I’ll have to live vicariously from now on.

      August 22, 2013
  5. Seriusly saya mula rasa cemburu dengan blog awak …

    coz… memang cantik laa :)

    August 15, 2013
  6. Even I, who live in Indonesia, haven’t tried all varieties of Mango. My favorite is Harum Manis, which lives up to its name, fragrant and sweet. I also find Gedong Gincu very unique due to its distinctive fragrance. But a Kweni-infused water is always a refreshing thirst quencher due to its light but lively flavor.

    August 18, 2013
    • Your comment has made me crave more mangoes!

      August 22, 2013
  7. J #

    The mangos in the east are way better than the ones in the US. I’m from SF and good mangoes are so hard to find here. Usually, I go to Whole Foods and they are sweet sometimes; but then upon traveling, for example, I got a mango from Malaysia and it was so amazing. I feel so mango deprived.

    August 25, 2013
    • I feel you on the mango deprivation! I wish they imported a greater number of varieties.

      August 25, 2013
  8. Yum!! I had no idea there were so many different varieties of mangoes.

    September 5, 2013

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