What can be more deliciously tempting than green mangoes and bagoong (fish sauce)?
To many Filipinos unripe green mangoes and bagoong (fish sauce) is the ultimate sour-salty side dish that is a 100% winner in any dinner table. Especially pregnant women are known to crave for hilaw na mangga (unripe mangoes) and bagoong for the ultimate Pinoy snack.
Marinated mangoes sprinkled or with a dust of dried and crushed chilli peppers is another variant that goes best with coconut milk-based vegetable stews and meat dishes. For the bagoong, a shrimp or any fish-based sauce will do. For those with diet restrictions or high blood go easy on the bagoong as it has a high salt content.
It has been said that the best mangoes (mangga in Filipino) in the Philippines can be found in Cebu. True or not, Cebu has a reputation of growing some of the best, sweetest and juiciest varieties of the Philippine mango. And there was a time when the province was amongst the biggest exporters (mainly to Japan) of the bigger, quality varieties that even locals have a hard time getting their hands on.
There are many varieties of mangoes in the Philippines and it has been reported that a book of records (Guinness?) had once described the Philippine variety called “Carabao” as the sweetest in the world.
An all-season fruit, mangoes are available in the Philippines throughout the whole year. But mango aficionados tell of the importance of picking or harvesting the fruit at the right way and time. Mangoes mature after three months and a half from the time its flower blooms. According to mango insiders, the fruit is at its best when carefully handpicked while still green and harvested between 9am- 3pm to prevent rapid exudation of the latex.
In any case, the mango is a versatile fruit and is used in a variety of Philippine desserts such as pies, sherbets, ice cream, candies and preserves. Visitors are advised to try the Philippine mango, the best of which contain a sliver-thin seed, juicy flesh and the sweetest, perhaps, the world over.
Mabuhay ang Mangga!