17 Aug2005

Mango Slicing 101

by Marketman

One of my U.S. based readers has asked about the best ways to slice a mango. aslice1He even forwarded a link to an article about a new fangled gadget that OXO is coming out with to make the task of slicing a mango easier – yikes! An American who spent many fond years here in the Philippines, he is convinced, as I am too, that some of the world’s best mangoes are from this country. So, while this post may seem superfluous for most, here is a quick run down on mango slicing. Before I get to the knife, however, I must put in a brief mention on eating a mango without any utensils at all.

On a warm summer day, standing under or near a great big mango tree, take a aslice2 perfectly ripe fruit at prevailing ambient temperature and tear off a piece of skin from the point of the mango and peel the skin back to the stem end in several segments. Munch on the juicy fruit as you would imagine a monkey eating a banana and ignore the ensuing mess… Mango juice dribbling down your forearm is part of the experience. Somehow, the fruit tastes better this way… it’s primitive and delicious at the same time. You just have to try it because describing it is like attempting to put in words why most men like to relieve themselves in the woods or some nearby tree/bush when given the chance (and when local laws do not prevent them from doing so).

Okay, back to slicing. All you need is a nice sharp knife. A small one preferable to a large chef’s knife that I use in the picture above. Just hold the mango with the stem side up aslice3Then do the same to the other side of the mango, resulting in two slices and a seed. Good slicers, of which I do not count myself among, end up with maximum meat on the slices and minimum pulp left on the seed. Serve the seed with a knife or fork plunged into it for ease of eating. The mango halves are served either with a teaspoon to scoop up the flesh or in hoity toitier households, with teaspoon and a fork to steady the mango half. Others like to make a crisscross harlequin like pattern on the mango to ease the scooping up of flesh. You often see this treatment in restaurants most likely as an attempt to justify the ridiculous mark-up they have just added to the fruit which they only had to chill and slice before serving to you.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. hchie says:

    Thanks for the Mango 101. I have seen this poor fruit mangled to look like some horrible thing. Even some well known American chefs still have not figured out how to peel and cut-up this great fruit.I do agree that we do have the sweetest though, and have you tried the Guimaras variety with the thin seed and flavour to die for?

    Aug 17, 2005 | 4:22 pm

     
  2. Marketman says:

    hchie I have tried guimaras and like it a lot. Of course, as a cebuano, I look for Cebu mangoes first. But I have a Guimaras suki in Manila and buy them often.

    Aug 17, 2005 | 5:01 pm

     
  3. karen says:

    my brother in law from the states came to visit a few years ago and he loves the mangoes here. It was so funny, he sliced the mango vertically, as opposed to horizontally (along the stem/seed). He looked surprised when I told him that was the wrong way to slice a mango.

    Aug 17, 2005 | 6:28 pm

     
  4. karen says:

    oops, sorry, i mean he sliced the mango horizontally as opposed to vertically… :P

    Aug 17, 2005 | 6:34 pm

     
  5. molly says:

    hi marketman! pls tell us who your guimaras suki is and where we can buy them.i don’t have one. buying mangoes for me in supermarkets is a hit or miss thing for me. i miss cebu mangoes too. :-)

    Aug 17, 2005 | 10:06 pm

     
  6. joey says:

    When I was a kid I actually liked the seed to have more meat then the halves, coz I wanted the heftier piece to be the one that I bit into…haha! Yes, sweet mango juice dribbling down your face does make the mango-eating experience so much better…will have to try it whole :-)

    Aug 17, 2005 | 10:25 pm

     
  7. bugsybee says:

    Probably because when I was a kid, they’d slice the mango in what you call “criscross .. patterns”, I still find myself doing that until now. My favorite is to chill the mango and eat it with what we call “ibos” here, actually rice wrapped suman-like in coconut leaves. I like the ibos fried with a little brown sugar plus chilled mango. This is standard on San Juan – June 24 but i like it everyday if possible.

    Aug 17, 2005 | 11:47 pm

     
  8. Jacob's Mom says:

    When I was a kid, my mom would insert a butter knife right down the middle of the seed, then make shallow cuts in the skin from base to point. That allowed her to peel the skin off and voila, mango lollipops! I do that now too, for my hubby and four-year old but because I rarely find Philippine mangoes in central Pennsylvania, we have to make do with Mexican ones.

    Aug 18, 2005 | 12:23 am

     
  9. Chris says:

    It’s a good thing you posted this. I saw an episode of Food 911 in the Food Network and I thought it was amusing. There was a guy who said he’d always wanted to use mangoes in his recipes but wouldn’t because he couldn’t figure out how to cut it. He said he always ended up cutting into the seed…hehehe. He was taught how to cut the mango and how to do the harlequin pattern and he went “Oooooh!” like it was the neatest trick he’s ever seen. Mango is my favorite fruit. Nami kaayo! And I also think Cebu mangoes are the best!!!

    Aug 18, 2005 | 12:57 am

     
  10. Skunkeye says:

    Thanks pare!
    I can see from the comments that mango slicing is indeed an artform – I have yet to perfect the harlequin style! Thnaks for following up – your wisdom is essential!
    Haha.. I served a haphazard mango chicken adobe last night for dinner guests. With a curry rice and and a cucumber/pickeled okra/grape tomato salad with a bagaoon/balsamic vinegar dressing- from my garden. It was a hit!
    And a modified halo-halo for dessert – couldn’t find ube ice cream – I do believe there might be a market in these parts!
    The mangoes on the US East Coast are crap – does any one in the DC area have any good sources?
    Thnaks for your fantastic public service Marketman!

    Aug 18, 2005 | 11:46 pm

     
  11. jaili says:

    Skunkeye – you are definitely right about crappy mangoes in DC!!!! the closest to philppine mangoes are the mexican variety. i buy them at Korean Korner along Viers Mill Rd or at the Asian store near Twinbrook. happy eating!!!

    Aug 19, 2005 | 2:25 am

     
  12. Marketman says:

    Molly, there is a lanrge vendor of supposedly guimaras mangoes at the FTI market in Taguig on Saturdays. Last week her mangoes were PHP60-65 a kilo. Most of the time they are good but there are some misses. I have tried mangoes from other vendors at that market too and they had reasonable finds. Skunkeye, sounds like you are doing serious experimentation with dishes…you should consider a food post!

    Aug 19, 2005 | 6:59 am

     
  13. acidboy says:

    my grandmother who came to manila from china via cebu showed me how toput the cubed mangos on rice. some might find this kinda wierd but growing up there’s one of my pleasures was a hot steaming plate of rice, with pork adobo on the side, and some mangoes mixed in with the rice.

    Aug 19, 2005 | 12:47 pm

     
  14. Ivan M says:

    Marketman,

    It could be just me of course but basing it from your pic, the seed part seem to be a wee bit meatier than the ‘pisngi'(the sides at least), Im not sure which is better but at home, we always have the pisngi meatier than the seed. ;o)

    Aug 20, 2005 | 9:36 am

     
  15. Marketman says:

    IvanM, you are right. I don’t cut them that well either. You really need to cut as close to the bone (seed) as possible without bring seed fiber into the slices… It’s better with a sharp paring knife than with a chef’s knife that I used in the photograph… I had to hold the camera with my mouth and and click the picture with my nose… heehee.

    Aug 22, 2005 | 6:26 am

     
  16. edee says:

    ahhhh mangga…….i really wish i’m home now :( … mangoes here are not the same, they’re still green even when ripe and taste so bland !

    Aug 22, 2005 | 7:32 pm

     
  17. Sister says:

    For you Filipinos transplanted to the East Coast of the US:
    The mangoes closest to Guimaras or Cebu mangoes are called “Ataulpo” variety and the best brand I’ve found is “Champagne” out of Mexico. Sometimes you can even find companies branding them as “Manila”. Check the Chinatown or Indian grocery nearest you from May through July, they are sold in small crates containing from 9 to 16 mangoes for about US $10. to $15. depending on size.

    Aug 23, 2005 | 10:20 am

     
  18. Joy says:

    love those mangoes for sure! hehe… love the variaties here in Indo too! would want to one day try those in the Phils. =D

    Mar 1, 2007 | 8:39 pm

     
  19. Beth Loggins says:

    Hmm … I feel that slicing vertically is a bit wasteful because so much of the flesh is left on the seed. I prefer to slice horizontally, using the seed to guide the knife. More dangerous, but less wasteful, unless you like eating a lot of the flesh off the seed.

    Apr 18, 2008 | 6:04 am

     
  20. pedro parkero says:

    @Beth Loggins: Yeah, I and all those I know who does the technique eats the flesh off the seed. They are not wasteful. What I do is empty one of the “cheek” parts by eating its meat first so there’d be a vessel for the bare bone that will result after munching on the “middle part” next… :-)
    Some people even prefer the seed part than the two “cheeks”! Different strokes for different folks, I guess… ;)

    and Marketman, love the fruit blogs… :-D

    Oct 12, 2008 | 12:10 am

     
 

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