Philippine dried mangoes are a great snack. I think I have been eating dried mangoes from Cebu for at least 25 years. Cebu has a reputation for great fresh mangoes but they can be priceyâ€¦ so it surprises me that it is the main source of dried mangoes in the Philippinesâ€¦or at least that is what the manufacturers want you to believe. Somehow, the cynic in me believes lots of mangoes from other parts of the country must be dried and labeled Cebu dried mangoesâ€¦but I have no proof! Tasty, nutritious and convenient, dried mangoes have become a huge hit and a standard food pasalubong (gift) to take to friends and relatives in the West. When I hanker for something sweet and want to believe it is healthy as well, I reach for a bag of dried mangoes. If you close your eyes and get over the sweetness, there is a definite distinct mango flavor. There are several brands on the market but I have been partial to R&M and lately, Indayâ€™s as a matter of habit. I avoid brands that have too many fibrous pieces. If you buy the dried mangoes fresh (visit the R&M factory in Guadalupe, Cebu when you need them by the box) they are moist, tasty and delicious. Several weeks later they get kind of hard and bark-like.
At about PHP80-90 for a 200 gram pack when purchased at the grocery, these strike me as being a bargain as a kilo of good fresh mangoes would run about PHP60-70 per kilo and you would probably need at least 2 kilos of ripe mango to make 200 grams of dried mangoâ€¦ Perhaps a lot of the weight is in added sugar. I also like to eat dried mango as part of a local â€œtrail mixâ€ that I make. Mix together chopped dried mango, sugared pili nuts, roasted cashews, banana chips etc. and pack into little zip-lock bags to take along on trips, hikes, the beach, etc. for quick energy and a relatively healthy snack. If only someone would take the lead and market these around the globeâ€¦ imagine if they were featured on the cover of Gourmet or Saveur, weâ€™d be selling millions of packages a month just to Filipinos abroad looking for a taste of home!