After reading an L.A. Times article yesterday about the arrival of Indian Mangoes in Southern California, I knew I had to get my hands on a box of these sweet fruits. Although Filipinos do have a weakness for mangoes, as seen here, I rushed out to the nearest Indian grocery store for entirely other reasons.
Here in SoCal, a majority of the mangoes found in supermarkets, if not all of them, come from Mexico. Indian Mangoes, on the other hand, were banned from U.S. soil for quite some time because they can potentially harbor mango seed weevils. I’m serious. I didn’t make that up. Mango seed weevils.
According to that Times article, the ban on Indian Mangoes was lifted because they can now be treated with irradiation to zap any potential evil weevils. Now, while irradiation may scare some people off, it was the main factor that convinced me to buy a case of Indian Mangoes. Why? I figured irradiated mangoes would give me super powers.
You know, like how that irradiated spider bit Peter Parker and he became Spider Man? Duh!
I would eat an irradiated mango, and I would become Mango Man! My super power would be Sweetness. I would just walk around all day being Sweet. That’s right! Sweet!
I’d walk down the streets and strange women and other passersby would say to me, “Hey honey, you’re lookin’ Sweet!”
I’d roll into work in the morning and my boss would say, “Marvin, you’re so Sweet right now you don’t even know it! Take the day off.”
I’d play pickup basketball games and rain down 20-footers on all adversaries, and they’d exclaim, “Man! That dude has one Sweet jumpshot!”
Sadly, after biting into the irradiated mango none of the above happened. No super powers of sweetness coursed through my veins. I did not get “The Glow”:
Ah, The Last Dragon. It’s a classic.
Perhaps I got this all wrong. Maybe rather than me biting an irradiated mango, I needed an irradiated weevil to bite me. But Weevil Man is not very cool sounding. Comic books can be confusing (almost as confusing as scatter-brained food bloggers).
I was now stuck with 11 non-super-power-giving, irradiated, weevil-free, Indian mangoes. Crap!
After getting over my initial sadness of not being Supremely Sweet, I decided to taste test the Indian Mango and compare it with a regular ‘ol Mexican Mango. A challenge like none has ever seen (probably not)!
In the picture above, the Mango on the left is from Mexico and cost about $0.75 from the local supermarket. The mango on the right is an irradiated Kesar Mango from India and cost almost $3.00 (I had to buy a box of one dozen Indian mangoes for $35.00 because the Indian grocery store from which I bought did not sell single mangoes, only cases).
In addition to being smaller and more expensive than its Mexican counterpart, the Kesar Indian mango differed in other ways.
As you can hopefully tell from the picture above, the flesh of the Kesar Indian Mango (foreground) had more of an orange hue. The Mexican mango (background) had more of a yellow complexion. The Indian mango also had a sort of musky-sweet scent, if that makes sense, while the Mexican mango smelled like, well, like a mango.
And as for the taste?
The Indian mango had a very subtle flavor, still sweet and juicy, but just not a crazy in your face mango-ness. And it's texture was very different from mangos I've had in the past. It was very smooth, without being mushy.
The Mexican mango, conversely, had a very sweet and tart flavor. I would even go so far as to say it was "citrusy". The texture of the Mexican mango was very fibrous and stringy. It could also have been that I picked a bad mango texture-wise, but I think it's safe to say that Mexican mangos are generally more fibrous than other mangoes.
My wife liked the Mexican mango the best because of its bright flavor. But I am partial to the Kesar Indian mango because of its texture. With all that said, I probably wouldn't ever again plop down 35 bones for a dozen mangos. I think the normal, everyday, Mexican mango is just fine. If you want to try the Indian mangos, that Times article lists some places where you can find them. The store I went to was in Upland.
You should also find some buddies who are mad for mangoes and go in on a case with them, that way it's cheaper. My wife and I will probably eat one or two more of the dozen that I bought, and I will probably give the rest of them to my parents, who enjoy eating mangoes with white rice -- a simple, tasty, and very Filipino preparation.