I love mangoes but not the 1 kg perfect-looking ones you get in Victoria Market (Melbourne, Australia) or Granville Island Public Market (Vancouver, Canada). Yes, our local mangoes are THE BEST. Tropical fruits are best grown in the tropics lah!
Whenever anyone moves into a new house here, he'd be asked, "Have you planted any mango trees?" If you look around, there's a mango tree in every back(and front)yard here. There are so many varieties, each with its special fragrance, sweetness and texture. Let me tell you about some of the mangoes we get around here:
1. The Apple Mango
This thin-skinned mango is Hub's favorite. The good ones are very sweet and juicy, so juicy that if you don't eat them quick enough the juice runs down your arms. And they are smooth (absolutely no fibers) and fragrant. These are the prettiest mangoes, round and with a blush of pink and sometimes look like peaches more than apples. A very classy, delicate mango that stands out because of its shape, flavor and its juicyness.
2. The Alfonso Mango
This mango is not available here, but my friend Yolanda who flies for Cathay Pacific just gave me two precious Alfonso mangoes from India last weekend so I'm including them here. Slightly bigger than the size of my fist, the first flavor that I tasted was that of santan (coconut milk), then apple mango flavor. Excellent in terms of flavor and creaminess (in general, I've noticed that the darker the color of the flesh, the creamier the mango ). Maybe the creamiest mango I've ever tasted. However, it's slightly sour and I like my mangoes sweet.
3. The Filipino Mango
Available year round, this mango is a beautiful light yellow all over when ripe but unfortunately doesn't taste as good as it looks. It is smooth-textured, not very creamy but more sour than sweet because it is picked when still unripe in The Philippines. Sometimes you can get some sweet ones but they'll leave you dissatisfied because the flavor is so-so.
From left to right: the Luzon (small ones), the Harum Manis, the Coconut and the Elephant/Siam mangoes.
4. The Coconut Mango
Sweet but with quite a bit of fiber, and a flavor like the harum manis. Talking of fiber, never buy that strong-smelling mango called 'mani' unless you want a mouthful of fibers.5. The Siam or Elephant Tusks Mango
These mangoes with seeds as flat as a biscuit are from Thailand. They are probably the smoothest-textured mangoes around but are bland in flavor so they are usually eaten unripe with dried plum powder. This mango has pale yellow flesh.
6. The Harum Manis Mango
I've noticed that mangoes that stay green when ripe are the better tasting mango. This thick-skinned harum manis (fragrant sweet) is thick-fleshed and is, as its name declares, sweet. It is strongly flavored, but in a slightly acrid way.
No mango can beat the King of them all, the....
7. The Luzon Mango.
Green even when ripe and looks like a smaller version of the harum manis but is not thick-skinned. The unbeatable quality it has is the flavor--oh, I can't smell one without closing my eyes. It is strange how each kind of mango has its peculiar fragrance. Oranges smell the same, strawberries too and I can't think of any other fruit that differs in its smell among their varieties (except the durian but the difference in flavor is detected only when you eat it). The sweetness, smoothness and the perfume of Luzon mangoes can beat any fruit on earth! In terms of color, it's medium orange which, as my theory goes, means it's medium in creaminess. The only thing though is this fruit is getting smaller and smaller (due to over-production, kinda like babies born in large families, or quads or quints??) and a dozen of these fruits is not enough to satisfy me!
Mangoes will still sweeten after they're plucked screaming from the tree but not much. The best tasting mangoes are those that are allowed to fall off the tree. We had a huge mango tree when I was growing up and when the mangoes start falling, we'd sharpen our ears for that sound when it hits the ground and whoever finds it gets it. However, mangoes fresh off the tree are best left for a day to 'deepen' the ripening and flavor, and also to get rid of the alkaline (I think) sap that can be strong enough to burn your skin (this my daughter found out when young; she had a burn mark on her face for years from stealing unripe mangoes in Grandpa's house).
When I eat a good mango, I understand Adam's temptation. I'm sure that forbidden fruit must've been the mango! How can it be a bland fruit like the apple?!