A Mango for Every Occasion

That garden I mentioned in the previous post? The one with all the mango trees? They’re not at all the same. A mango is not a mango is not a mango. In fact, there is a different mango for nearly every occasion. There are times when we want sweet, drippy juice and fruity flesh that turns the fingers sticky. Other times we want a tart, mouth-puckering savory salad. Some days it’s sour soup that requires a firm green mango. And sometimes it’s the simple joy of color we seek.

Different mangoes do all of these different jobs.

Our friend Rith gives us a basket of two varieties to sample. The first is called keo pong morn, or “chicken egg” mango. It’s that luscious, drippy kind that stains my notebook and gives me a sweet mango mustache. It gets all over my hands and face as the soft flesh of that fruit turns to liquid gold on my tongue. This mango is smaller than others, resembling the shape of—you guessed it—a chicken egg.

The other variety is called keo romeat (spelled keo lamiet here). It has the brilliant color of turmeric, thus the same name. This one has a teardrop shape and is not nearly as sweet or juicy. But the firm gold flesh is easily cut and holds its shape for display.

Someday I would like a mango garden somewhere, with trees bearing fruits for every occasion.


7 thoughts on “A Mango for Every Occasion

  1. Up until visiting and living in southeast Asia, I thought a mango was a mango – but after living here, I now know there are so many varieties and ways to eat a mango that a mango is so much more than just a mango – a diverse and incredible fruit with delicious qualities in all stages of ripeness.

    Have you had a variety known as “mun kun si (in Thai),” in Cambodia? It’s probably my favorite mango.

  2. Hi Mark, so true! One of my favorites is tart green mango as a dressing for fish. I have had mun kun si… though I’m honestly not sure what the name would be in Khmer.

  3. Oh, my favorite fruit, in all its sizes and colors. Proof that mother nature wants us to be happy.

  4. I had never thought of mangos being more than 1 variety until now either. It makes a whole lot of sense of course. Why are the hundreds (or thousands) of apple variety an accepted norm, but not the mango (or most other fruits actually).

    I found that different mangos gave different flavour for the daily fruit shakes I treated myself to last month in Thailand. I missed the slightly tart mango, most of the ones I was tasting was the sweet but not tart type. Almost paw paw or rock melon in taste. I found this could be rectified by ordering a mango and lemon shake. I thought they were just in a different stage of ripeness rather than variety, but maybe they were a different variety.

  5. OMG I have such a mango fetish and I know so little about them. Love your writing and love the fact that I learned so much from this post. Thanks!!!!

  6. I did Peace Corps in Cambodia, and a favorite variety was a small mango that translated to “breast mango.” But mangos of all varieties are so delicious! It took a lot of mango-consumption to master cutting a ripe mango without making mess.

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