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In India, mangoes are considered sacred fruit. In the rest of the world, sacred or not, they’re an easy fruit to love: the flesh is soft and buttery and they’re sweet, but pleasantly tart when ripe. Native to South Asia, they are grown in tropical countries where the climate is hot, such as India, the Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Brazil and Mexico.
There are about 400 varieties of mangoes but the taste and texture varies between each. In view of their budget-friendly price and availability all year round, mangoes from the Philippines are usually used in desserts and other dishes, and for making juices, says city'super assistant fruit buyer Viola Chio. Mangoes from Thailand, Taiwan and India tend to be enjoyed just as they come, Chio says.
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The less common varieties sold in Hong Kong are from places such as Brazil, Africa, and Australia, says city'super senior fruit buyer Annie Chan. “Their flesh is not as soft, and when ripe, they are hard. These mangoes are rarely enjoyed whole, but grilled or shredded into a salad.”
Indian Alphonso mango
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The most coveted mango in the world, Chio and Chan agree, is the Taiyo no Tamago variety from Miyazaki in Japan. The mangoes are ripened on the tree and harvested in nets. They have a rich flavor and buttery, juicy flesh with little fiber. So highly valued are they that last year a pair was auctioned for 300,000 yen, the most ever paid for mangoes.
Because the Taiyo no Tamago mango is so precious, end-buyers often give them as gifts instead of eating them, Chan says. Chan’s own favorite is the Indian Alphonso mango. She loves it for its rich, succulent flavor.
Whatever mango you choose, Chio suggests smelling and feeling the fruit for clues to its quality. “Mangoes that have ripened will be soft to the touch, but not too soft, yielding to slight pressure. Good-quality fruit is fragrant around the stem area,” she says. “It’s normal for the skin of the mango to have spots; they are not always flawless. But avoid ones with wrinkled skin.”
Source of Images: Taste of LifeTaste of Life; NaturalBox/ Shutterstock.com