This time of year mangoes seems to flood the markets and fruit stalls all over the city. Upon closer examination, the mangoes are all different: different sizes, colors, countries of origin. I began to wonder how different they really were. So over the past couple of weeks, I’ve collected four different mangoes and subjected them to my own rigorous taste test. I judged the mangoes on two main criteria: taste and texture. I found that although most mangoes are delicious, there are some major differences between them.
Round One: Guatemalan vs Haitian
Guatemalan: $1.79 from my local bodega
The Guatemalan mango is the one we see most often in our local markets; the familiar red and green mottled skin gives way to pale yellow flesh underneath. I picked the ripest one I could find, which was not very, and then left it in my fridge to keep ripening. By the time most of it was even slightly ripe, other parts had started to rot. Not a good sign.
Taste: Mildly sweet and one note, slightly acidic. If this was the only manga I’d ever eaten, I’d wonder just what the big deal was.
Texture: Still pretty hard, and very fibrous. I only ate a few bites of this one.
Haitian: $1.99 from the fruit guy on the corner
I was able to find a ripe one right away and left it in the fridge overnight to chill. The juice began to spill out even as I cut into it,
Taste: Sweet, floral, and multi-dimensional, this is what a mango should taste like.
Texture: Much smoother, but still with some fibers (particularly around the pit).
Winner: Haitian (by a long shot)
Round Two: Mexican vs Philippines
Mexican: $1 from the fruit guy on the corner
The Mexican mango is bright yellow on the outside and about half the size of the other mangoes, though it was also half the price. The flesh is still deep orange. I let the fruit guy pick the ripest one for me.
Taste: Sweet, slightly more acidic; very good, though slightly one dimensional.
Texture: A revelation — this was by far the creamiest mango of the bunch, almost custard-like in its texture. Nary a fiber to be found. I had mango pannacotta the other day, but it paled in comparison to this Mexican mango.
Philippine: $2 from the fruit guy on the corner
Once again I let the fruit guy pick the ripest one, and he did an amazing job. At twice the size of the Mexican mango, it makes a formidable opponent.
Taste: A symphony of sweet, floral, and acid. I happily let the juice pour down my face as I scarfed this one down.
Texture: A few fibers, but pretty creamy overall. In order to get the flavor, I’m willing to pick a few mango strings out of my teeth.
Winner: Philippines (by only a little bit)
Overall Winner: Philippine Mango
Although the Haitian and the Philippine mango were both great, I have to give a slight edge to the Philippine one. The amazing depth of flavor, along with the relative lack of fiber, makes it the winner in my mind.
So there you have it. I know I didn’t include the legendary Indian mango in this; I kept an eye out for one while I was shopping, but I didn’t find one. If anyone knows of a convenient place to find one, please let me know. In the meantime, you won’t go wrong with three of these four — and if you can find a ripe Philippine one, go for it.