Sadly, Irradiated Mangoes Do Not Give You Super Powers

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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!

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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)!

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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.

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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.

How else to enjoy mangoes?  Well, you could do like I did and cook them en papillote with fish, or you can make a tasty grilled salad.

I also noticed that Wandering Chopsticks recently posted a delicious-looking Mango Bread recipe. And that same Times article I mentioned above has a few nice looking mango recipes as well.

Sweet!

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  • TeddyKim June 7, 2007, 8:11 pm

    Awesome post! Barry Gordy was a genius for doing Last Dragon. And I’m definitely very interested now in seeing if I can find some Indian mangoes.

    Reply
  • Jean-Luc Monstroso June 7, 2007, 8:53 pm

    Sorry you didn’t get the glow, but maybe you gained the ability to literally dance out of being hogtied like Leroy’s little brother. I find that skill to be ten times more difficult than catching bullets with your teeth, which is especially helpful in bondage situations. Anyways, if I don’t eat mangoes because they give me a severe chin rash, does that make me less of a filipino?

    Reply
  • Real Thai Recipes June 7, 2007, 9:45 pm

    If you’re looking for something to do with them all, you could try mangoes with sticky rice, Thai style:
    http://www.realthairecipes.com/recipes/mango-with-sticky-rice/

    Reply
  • Wandering Chopsticks June 7, 2007, 11:53 pm

    Marvin,
    Thanks for the shout out. I was gonna post a mangoes with sticky rice recipe soon too. :)
    Hmm. Reading the article, and the NY Times article, made me think Indian mangoes would be incredibly amazing. I think I’ll save my money. I prefer champagne mangoes myself. No fiber. But the Mexican mangoes are bolder in taste.

    Reply
  • Katrina June 8, 2007, 4:28 am

    You mean you can’t get Filipino mangoes in the US? I know we export them, but maybe just to around Asia. As you surely know, we Pinoys are extremely chauvinistic when it comes to mangoes…and rightly so! I’ve never seen nor eaten a mango that can even begin to compare with the best (whether Guimaras, Cebu, Zambales — it’s contentious) we have here. No wonder, then, that visiting Filipinos eat bushels of mangoes while they’re here. Try to come here in the summertime when they’re in season, and you’ll understand why we’re so damn proud of them. :-)

    Reply
  • faustianbargain June 8, 2007, 10:42 am

    in india, we have several varieties of mangoes and alfonso/kesar is a very special fruit prized for its sweetness. having said that, we have so many more varieties. better ones, imo. i wouldnt buy irradiated, well travelled mangoes in the states. i love..LOVE..mangoes and part of the appeal is waiting for the season..shopping for it..picking from the endless varieties..one mango at a time. there are mangoes that are the juicer variety and then the sucking juicy variety..there is the fibrous ones and those which give themselves to be diced into perfect, solid cubes. i have a love affair with mangoes and i dont want to end it by picking up a case of unbelievably expensive irradiated fruit. enjoy the fruit..by itself.
    i wrote about it here > http://afaustianbargain.blogspot.com/2007/06/mangoes.html
    i hope you get your mango superpowers one day!

    Reply
  • shalimar June 9, 2007, 5:08 pm

    just bought some pakistani mangoes the closest you can get to philippine mangoes

    Reply
  • Rasa Malaysia June 17, 2007, 9:48 am

    I want I want the kalamansi tree…you will have to tell me where to get it. You’re in SoCal right?

    Reply
  • nikki June 22, 2007, 11:23 pm

    Ahhhh!! Where did you find your mangoes? I need some green mango so I can pickle it! (ohno…I’m drooling just thinking about it!)

    Reply
    • Jenna May 25, 2013, 10:10 pm

      I ADORE MANGO PICKLE AND PICKLE MAKING! So many people are unaware that in India we use mangoes for a variety of things. Some of our mangoes are not meant to eat all cut up. Another way I love eating mangoes (as I get tons here since my family has a mango farm) when they are like a squeezable Otter Pop! Pop them in the fridge when it’s time to slurp them down and you have yourself a cool snack!
      As for irradiated mangoes, If I am making mango pickle I better get the right mango for the job not a Mexican greenback. It just won’t be authentic enough for my palette!

      Reply
  • steamy kitchen June 24, 2007, 5:49 pm

    OMG I laughed so hard! I’ve never even heard of this movie!! Now I MUST SEE IT in its entirety

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia June 25, 2007, 8:50 pm

    TK,
    I do think it’s funny how Barry Gordy put his name in the title of the movie.
    Jean-Luc,
    Pop-locking out of knotted rope is a lost art. And you’re not less Filipino for not eating mangoes, you’re just itchy.
    Real Thai Recipes,
    It seems that every Southeast Asian culture has a mango and rice recipe. My mother just eats mangoes with plain white rice, that’s it.
    WC,
    I’ve never had champagne mangoes. There are more types of mangoes than I had thought.
    Katrina,
    To my knowledge, we do not get Philippine mangoes here in the U.S. I know there are mangoes called “Manilla Mangoes” here in local stores, but those also come from Mexico. I might actually be in the Philippines next summer, so I will definitely try the native mangoes.
    Faustian,
    The mangoes you show on your blog look wonderful. I know there are other varieties besides Kesar here in the U.S., but the Kesar was all I could find.
    Shalimar,
    Pakistani mangoes? Where did you find those?
    Rasa,
    Check out the nursery at your local hardware store. I got my Kalamansi from OSH.
    Nikki,
    I found my mangoes at an Indian Grocery store in Upland. The LA times article I mentioned lists a few more stores in the LA area.
    Hi Steamy,
    Barry Gordy’s The Last Dragon is indeed a cult classic. I own the DVD of it and have probably watched it a dozen times. If you like cheesy 80’s kung fu movies, that one is for you.

    Reply
  • Beth June 21, 2008, 8:48 pm

    Philippine mangoes are the best in the world imo. And I say that with absolutely no bias (okay, maybe some). Mexican mangoes lack the sweetness of Philippine mangoes and will sometimes taste “flat”. The normal Indian mangoes are way down in the mango scale as far as I’m concerned. Philippine mangoes have the perfect balance of sweet (really sweet) and tart. My mom’s family owns a mango farm in the province of Pangasinan. She used to tell us stories that when she was a child, they had so many mangoes that they stored some under her and her siblings’ beds.

    Reply
  • Beth June 21, 2008, 8:50 pm

    Philippine mangoes are the best in the world imo. And I say that with absolutely no bias (okay, maybe some). Mexican mangoes lack the sweetness of Philippine mangoes and will sometimes taste “flat”. The normal Indian mangoes are way down in the mango scale as far as I’m concerned. Philippine mangoes have the perfect balance of sweet (really sweet) and tart. My mom’s family owns a mango farm in the province of Pangasinan. She used to tell us stories that when she was a child, they had so many mangoes that they stored some under her and her siblings’ beds.

    Reply
  • RC Brillantes July 21, 2009, 11:08 am

    Hello Marvin,
    Thanks for the taste test. I’m in the SF bay area making a mango float dessert. My Mexican mangos are ripening in a paper bag now. They feel on the edge of ripeness, but the rich aroma of the Phil. mango is not there.
    Anyway, I have seen (rarely) mangos labeled and looking like “Manila” mangos grown in Mexico in our natural food store and they were absolutely the most delicious I’ve had in Cal. (I’m a Fil Am. who lived in the Phils. off and on for some years.) Of course, they did not have the fresh picked from my yard taste, but close enough. Also, I have seen a kind of Mex.-looking mango grown in CA, also at my natural food store and they surprisingly tasted very sweet, smooth and non-fibrous.
    http://www.naturalgrocery.com
    Since you live in SoCal, I wonder if there are people who have tried growing mangos in their backyards? My friend grows delicious calamansi in her yard in FL. To your health!

    Reply
  • RC Brillantes July 21, 2009, 11:40 am

    Oh, btw, just read about your mango experiences in Ilocos. Anyway, I also found a nice chart of mango types and descriptions here:
    http://www.mango.org/en/about-mangos/varieties.aspx

    Reply
  • Jenna May 25, 2013, 10:15 pm

    Sadly, RC Brillantes, that site only contains mangoes in the Americas and doesn’t have any varieties of Indian Mangoes. We have mangoes here that are specific even to the area of the country we live in, like Guntur Mangoes. It is nice to have a chart like this for the American Mangoes, though!

    Reply

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