Sunday, May 4, 2008

Best Mango in the World?

Alphonso, Benishaan (or Banganpalli in Telugu and Tamil) and Kesar mango varieties are considered by many (those lucky enough to have tried one) among the best mangoes in the world. I've only tried the aplhonso's, and the flavour is...umm, wow! It is difficult to describe, but I'll have a go at it: distinct, highly concentrated, very sweet and juicy, having a superior "zing-factor", earthy (almost "gamey" but a non-meat version, if that makes any sense). In fact, unripe mangoes are more sour than lemons and are therefore popularly used as a souring agent in Indian cooking. As for the color of this scrumptious fruit, it is a brilliant orange like I've never seen before.

This may come as a surprise to many, but mangoes are originally native to India even though they are now grown in many tropical areas all over the world.

Interestingly, the skin is chock-full of antioxidants as is the case with the skins of many other fruits and vegetables. I'll think twice before throwing the peels away, even though my husband would never consider chewing on one as he was brought up believing you don't eat them. Even as I write this he has a uncomfortable look on his face as he leans over my shoulder...

18 comments:

Madhumita Gopalan said...

hey lovely post on my favourite fruit :) i like to eat the peel too

btw, mango pulp makes for a great face pack, did you know?

Shireena said...

Hi Madhumita,
Thanks for your comment! When I was in Udaipur, I experienced my first "indian kitchen facial" and they used mango pulp and papaya and tamarind. My face glowed afterwards!

Anonymous said...

Personally, I find that the best mangoes in the world come from the Philippines, the Philippine Carabao mango to be exact. It is a variety of the alfonso mango (or pelican mango) whose origins are said to be India. What's interesting is that in 1995, the Guiness Book of World Records listed the Philippine Carabao mango as the sweetest fruit in the world.

Mango Power Girl said...

Growing up on crates and crates of Alphonso every summer...I have to agree it is THE BEST mango variety...followed by Kesar! Never heard about eating the peel, maybe on a raw mango, but not on ripe. The pit is something we never waste and make sure is adequately squeezed or sucked off its juices :)

Anonymous said...

i do not agree...best is Malda mangoes..with small seed and more sweet juicy pulp...which even leaves its fragrance in your hand 10-15 mins after eating it

Deepali harshal said...

Philipines Carabao, I have tried this when I lived in Singapore for more than a decade - yes, they are sickeningly sweet, but that is it! Lacking in flavour ( Oh gorgeous heavens - gimme an alphonso or kesar!), colour - kesar again, fragrance - kesar, Chausa and even silly old Langda had better fragrance... Philipine Mango being compared to the Indian fruit is an insult.... as far as the RUBBISH mexican fruit goes, I guess lets leave it to hte westerners to turn out rubbish like Salsas for prawns with them... I live in the US now and the mexican mangoes are vile - sour, sometimes with a rotten smell ( like in an Indian Mandi) & overtly coloured!

Anonymous said...

@ Deepali - then go back to India to buy your mangoes.

Anonymous said...

@ Deepali - maybe you've tasted the wrong one. Go try the one that is REALLY from the Philippines.. and you will know why it is in Guiness!

Phani Kiran said...

Cinna Rasalu (Very sweet Juice mangoes) From Krishna District (2nd largest exported) are much better than Alphonso..

Mango Lover said...

Mango Alphonso is called Indian Mango in the Philippines. Carabao mango is totally different from it's size, smell, look and even the texture of the skin. All you have to do when choosing a sweet Carabao mango is smell the fruit then you'll know if it's sweet or not.

Mango Alphonso on the other hand have this Cardamom like smell which explains why Indians love it very much but far compared to the smell and taste of Philippines' Carabao mango.

Aw Xiang Long, Adam said...

You guys mentioned Alphonso and Carabao variety. There is one mango in the world which you have left out and i believe have never taste before. They call it the diamond mango, origin from Burma. It's a hidden gem in a enclosed country. Better than any of the above which you have mentioned.

Anonymous said...

There is a very small Island in the Eastern Caribbean called Grenada also named "The Isle of Spice" that have a tremendous assortment of delicious mangoes, most of the Grenadians like the Julie mango. Grenada is a very unique Island because it also grows and export nutmeg. I was born there and spend the first nineteen years of my life there and I crave the mangoes from there all the time. I now live in the USA and never had a mango here like some of those in Grenada. I am still searching for a mango like I had when I was growing up, as a result I intend to go to Grenada for the mango season so I can eat (suck) all the juicy mangoes I had as a child.

Anonymous said...

It is futile to argue... Any mango grown in traditional form in any part of the world - particularly the 'old world' - is good, because the mango is the king of all fruits. (nedd not talk much about the excuse for a mango produced genetically to look 'attractive' in USA etc - poor americans don't know what makes a fruit worth tasting).
But if someone unbiasedly tastes different mangoes from anywhere in the world - India, Philippines, Burma, Pakistan, or wherever - they would find that
(1) Banaganapalli (Benishan) is the best most sumptuous & typical mango, which you can eat whole (skin is as as edible as the pulp, zero fibre, big fruit, lot of pulp having just the right firmness, the ancient, inimitable, wonderful flavour of mango).
(2) Alphonso - for its sweetness, and exquisite version of the authentic mango flavour. Also the color, buttery texture and compelete edibility.
(3) Haven't tasted authentic kesar a lot, but heard that its flavour is - as the name says - delicate as the kesar is. Also has typical form and shape of the arechetype mango, as well as a fully uniform, unblemished color, when ripe.

Now, I am not saying that other mango cultivars are not good (after all they came from an original home in India, and the offspring if maintained true to the good parent, should also be good). But there is no apt comparison with Indian mango varieties grown and harvested in the age-old fashion. Unfortunately the artifical methods of 'mass production' are beginning to dilute the quality of mangoes in India (and elsewhere) already.

All in all, whichever is the mango, and from whereever it is grown, it is a mango :-)
And it is a delightful treat fit for a King. So enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Have you tried the Philippine yellow manggo? It is the very best manggo!! It is fit for a king! It is the best!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

haha always comparing which one are the best i would say all the mangoes are delicious from alphonso to carabao mango. but wait, i grow up in the big mango farm, we sell mango fruit. so i know some carabao or alphonso mango sometimes are not so very sweet, thats because they harvest not on the right date, its imature date,thats because the heavy rain is coming soon, then the fruit will keep it inside the big basket covered with paper and the most important thing they used calboro for ripening mango, the result is excellent golden yellow perfect color, but the taste is far than the mature harvest mango,it has sweet aroma and tangy flavor. so commercial mango its in the hurry process to get profit, while if you have mango on your backyard thats 100 percent the sweetest and juicy tangy flavor mango ever.

Umby Lee said...

I am from the Philippines and have tasted the Alphonso mango imported from India. I bought it in Singapore from Cold Storage when I was there. The taste did not live up to the hype and expectation. Right there I thought how Carabao mangoes could simply be the best given the inferior fruit I was holding at that moment. Later on, having a much open mind, I thought that I could have just picked an improperly ripened batch. It could happen to carabao mangoes, too. I wish to go to India and taste the countless varieties in May, as one of my Indian friends tipped me. There, he said my mind will surely be opened up to different mango experiences. I am sure if there was an equally delicious mango to carabao in India, they should not be pitted against each other. I've tasted a Chaunsa mango from Pakistan. It knocked my socks off with its unique taste when I first tasted it-- Just like how it does whenever I eat carabao mangoes in season. Right fruit, at the right time. It's different from Carabao, equally delicious but in a different way. I'm sure there would be other super delicious mangoes out there with the hundreds of varieties available in India. One just has to come at the right time and taste the right fruit. Again, for mangoes in the big league, there's no pitting one against the other and trying to decide which one is best. There's simply no Carabao mango vs Alphonso mango, vs Chausa mango, vs Nam Doc Mai and so on... After all, like beautiful women, how can you conclude Catherine Zeta Jones to be more attractive than Aishwarya Rai? Then again, there's always going to be the fact that you'll always favor the mango that you've grown up with.

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