Green Mango & Bagoong


There are many classic food pairings around the world such as tomatoes and basil, strawberries and chocolate, lemon and butter, cabbage and pork, etc.; but for me, there are few food pairings more personally memorable and intense than green mangoes and bagoong (shrimp paste). If I were simply surfing the net and came across the photos in this post, I would literally salivate. The one thing that I absolutely missed all those years I lived abroad was a bowl of sliced green mango served with good bagoong. I could eat all of this on my own. And I wouldn’t need company. I can feel the crunch of the unripe mango, the slightly astringent, incredibly sour shock to the tastebuds, soon mitigated by the gentle squish of tiny shrimp shells that burst with a salty, briney bagoong flavor. It is the pinoy equivalent of that old “Frusen Gladje” or indulgent ice cream advertisement from the 1980’s. I am a sour and salt fiend…


A couple of weeks ago, I ate at an Alavar’s restaurant for the first time. The food was good, but not stellar or anything to write a separate post about. But the bagoong they served with their green mango was a real winner. It was so good, I immediately asked the waiter if I could buy several bottles before we even finished the meal! The small shrimp are still very much intact in this bagoong, but what makes it unique is that that I think they have added some aligue and/or some coconut oil to the mixture, perhaps a little bit of sugar and other spices… so it isn’t just a raw hit of fermented and salted shrimp, but a smoother more sophisticated flavor punch. It is a touch on the sweet side for me, but that is only more reason to sprinkle your green mango slices with some kosher salt before dipping into the bagoong. Utterly delicious. And if you are abroad staring at your monitors salivating… all I can say is, this is one of the simple things that makes living back home a real pleasure… :)


80 Responses

  1. I am indeed salivating at the pictures and your most apt description. I do not think I have ever felt this way looking at my computer monitor. I have a bagoong stash in my refrigerator but, where or where, can I get the right green mangoes in Houston????

  2. wow! that looks so great! my mouth is watering hahaha and so real! i will be dreaming about this tonight. thank’s

  3. Oh! my goodness, I am salivating. Looking at the monitor at 10pm California time is not fair to feel this way. My whole body just went limp ( ha! ha! ha!).

  4. MarketMan, that’s my usual pasalubong for my Manileño friends. Everytime I fly there, I get a request for a few BIG bottles to bring for them.

    There are also friends that request me to have it sent via DHL – no other courier service accepts this for freight. They send me their pambayad thru online banking, and I buy and send it the next day. (Have to order in advance baka ubos kasi!)

    They bring the raw shrimp from Zamboanga and the granddaughter of the original Alavar’s owner cooks it in Cebu by herself. I know she uses “gata” but as to what proportion, that’s another story.

    Really good also for “kare kare”, and pinakbet. I always have a bottle or two at home.

    I usually slice up semi ripe mangoes and mix it right in, after letting it heat up a bit on a frying pan. Mmmmm…

  5. Ah, good to know I’m not the only one who likes to eat her green mango with bagoong AND salt… But once I’m done, I always end up drinking so much water that I start to feel sick, urg.

  6. you’re absolutely right, MM..the pictures are enough to make any pinoy salivate. i think pinoys are wired for this kind of pavlovian response to the pairing, huh? now, if only somebody would bring out the ox tail kare-kare, steamed shrimps, and grilled boneless bangus, this would be a perfect sunday!

    i love the unique alavar’s bagoong (yes, it has coocnut milk), but i also love their alavar sauce – i think it has some curry in it, and maybe some mashed squash and coconut milk, but that’s as far as i would venture to guess. it’s great with fish fillet, or mixed seafood like clams, squid, shrimps and crab, or simply sauteed with some fried cubed tofu if you’re trying to be good. it’s sold frozen in half-kilo and 1 kilo plastic bags.

  7. I AM SALIVATING!!!! And to think I can’t eat bagoong since I’m allergic to crustaceans!

  8. “I can feel the crunch of the unripe mango, the slightly astringent, incredibly sour shock to the tastebuds, soon mitigated by the gentle squish of tiny shrimp shells that burst with a salty, briney bagoong flavor”

    hayyyyyyy read between the lines.. =) sarapppppppppppppp

  9. I agree with Leo. This is indeed an evil post.

    I am now craving for the U.P. Shopping Center green mango on a stick. The guy there ads spicy salt in the bagoong. I see him mix siling labuyo with the salt. Yum, yum.

  10. Salivating post indeed! Lucky for me that when i went down for dinner, my wife had the same idea! :)

    Haven’t tried Alavar’s though. Whenever we buy bottled bagoong, we cook it again to add spiciness or sweetness.

  11. Oh my gosh, MM!!! Don’t do this to a pregnant woman…especially in her 1st trimester…Hehehehe….Now, I have to send off my hubby to look for some green mangoes….can’t wait!!!

  12. I am not a big green mango fan (carabao variety) but I love the indian mangoes. Great bagoong is usually my motivator, hehe. And I could feel my salivary glands working overtime as I was going through the post. It has possibilities as a psy-war tactic. But maybe just for Pinoys. =)

  13. I have a precious jar of alavar bagoong at home, ready for those green mango moments. The gata they add to the basic bagoong recipe cuts the brininess or perhaps the malansa of the shrimp. A friend always brings a crate of them back from Zamboanga around xmas to sell or to give away. If anyone wants them it’s easy to get them to Manila.

  14. As soon as I saw the picture, I held my breath and started to feel hungry for home and green mangoes & bagoong. I have a question for the US-based readers: what variety of mango would you eat with bagoong here?

  15. Like all of you, I’m also drooling like a dog on a hot summer day at the sight of the pics. Btw, what’s the difference between bagoong and ginamos?

  16. What a coincidence that after reading your post I saw huge green mangoes while walking along Bowery. I was salivating all the way home while thinking of my prize find! To my disappointment they were even milder than our Indian mangoes I might as well be eating cucumber or jicama with alamang.

  17. i’m already hypertensive just by looking at your pic….quick quick drink my Lipitor :)

  18. I am from Zamboanga City and yes, Alavar’s bagoong is the best there is. With green mangoes, grilled samaral or any grilled firm fleshed fish for that matter (or even grilled pork belly), some agar agar salad on the side and lots and lots of freshly cooked rice. Yum! You can make your own version of Thai bagoong rice with Alavar’s bagoong that is to die for. I wanna go home to Zamboanga tuloy.

  19. MM, you’re so cruel!! having us salivate, drool at your pics.. where oh where do i get alavar bagoong in manila or quezon city or kahit saan basta sa pilipinas?..tell me quick!!! please!!!

  20. makes me think of the almost hundred-year old mango tree in our backyard in Bacolod, where 2 large pieces can weigh more than a kilo… masarap i pares sa binayo na ginamos.

  21. not really a big fan of green mangoes because of the “ngilo” effect, but your picture is really something. just like what the others said, pavlovian effect… hi corrine,there’s an alavar branch along Scout Ybardollaza in QC. not so sure though if its still open. last time we were there was December 2007.

  22. mmmmm, bagoong and mangang hilaw….at least with your pics , i won’t need the claritin, benadryl, or zyrtec. not even the epipen…

  23. mmmmm….im a big fan of indian mangoes + bagoong…. i could eat 15-20 pcs in one sitting…i miss home

  24. there are mangoes where i am but no bagoong…wahhhhh i really miss home (but two more months though) and you are right Mr MM, i am salivating!

  25. I haven’t tasted Alavar’s but that’s how bagoong is prepared in Zamboanga–with “gata”. But as far as my taste buds go, I still prefer bagoong without gata.

  26. Maybe they put Alavar sauce in their bagoong! I’ve loved that sauce since the first time I tried it, and I miss it so much — ever since the Makati branch closed (over 10 years ago?), I haven’t had a taste. Alavar sauce, like bacon, makes everything taste better. ;-D

  27. ohhh, my hubby would die for those mangoes. Whenever we’re going back here from Manila, he would insist on bringing a kilo or two of those really green, crunchy mangoes that seems to be only available in the Philippines.

  28. OMG, This is pure torture for people like us who do not have access to this kind of food. I say ban the picture. I could not concentrate on the work. Just thinking of when will I be able to have the taste of Mangga’t bagoong. The mangoes we get here in North America is a poor imitation of Filipino mangoes.

    One of life’s simple pleasure.

  29. Haha I had to scroll down quickly because my saliva glands were agitated. My psychology teacher used to take green mango/bagoong to explain Pavlov’s experiment with the dogs.

  30. *drools uncontrollably* When I first came to the US, the first thing I missed eating was mangga and bagoong. Sure we had the bagoong, but where in the heck was I going to get sour, green mangoes in the burbs?

    Sour green apples were a barely passable substitue. School friends would FLIP when I’d shake salt onto my Granny Smith. But thankfully, the Asian – specifically, the Vietnamese – population in my area is now quite huge. I can now get sour(ish) green mangoes.

    We are going back to the PHilippines for a visit at the end of the month. I’ve already requested that a bushel of green mangoes and a jar of garlicky, spicy bagooong be waiting. THat and kilos and kilos of lanzones.

  31. You are soooooooooo correct, MM. The picture alone makes me drool!!! yum yum…which a question just popped out of my head, is there an english description or equivalent meaning to ‘naglilihi’? you know, when pregnant women crave for manggang hilaw in several ways of sawsawan. I’ve heard of manggang hilaw dipped in soysauce and plenty of sugar, in vinegar with sili, in asin and chopped sili, in just plin sugar, even in ice cream, etc….

  32. hhmmm—i have bottled bagoong here. guess i have to be content with granny smith apples—it’s not even a close second. the taste buds at the back of the tongue just don’t shrivel up, and the eyes don’t close as tight..and you don’t make THAT face…

  33. this is too much!!! now i want to have that taste of alavar’s bagoong and green mango. my wife is in manila now and she’s coming back to guam this saturday. where can she buy the alavar’s bagoong in manila? here on guam we can find green mangoes if it’s in season here.

    i have been an avid reader of your blog since i discovered it thru “” of inday hami. love your blog!! i try to visit this blog everyday.

  34. Edwin, I am not sure if they sell this bagoong in Manila. But you may want to try a little baoong mixed with coconut oil, a touch of sugar and if you have it a touch of bottled aligue as a substitute…navyGOLF I think naglilihi is the equivalent of craving… though it isn’t as descriptive… maybe “pregnant food craving” is the closest?

  35. love Alavar’s bagoong! I always request for a bottle of it when my husband’s relatives come to Davao for a visit. The picture sure did had me salivating and wishing for green mangoes and bagoong alavar=)

  36. Hej Marketman!

    Am very curious to know what ice-cream advert that had “Frusen Glädje” as its theme. It’s Swedish for frozen happines. The Swedes would never associate the frozen state with happiness.

    Love your mango photo – even my Swedish husband would salivate when he sees this. He loves that kind of bagoong you described.


  37. Oh my God!!!!

    Why is it that even by just looking at a picture of mango and bagoong make one salivate/drool?

    I really envy you for having a taste oh not really a taste but for eating all this delicious food and having easy access to it all.

  38. I do use coconut oil (exported from Mt. Arayat) in sauteing my bagoong. And yes, one time I actually added coconut creme; and now I will try to add aligue (I just hope the bottled one sold here is good enough). Now all I need is the “real” carabao mango. Hindi yung mangoes that are sold here, na malalaki, sus naman ang lasa. Matabang na, matigas pa, at.. malitid. On my annual mission trip/vacation there, my first lunch that I asked my friend to serve me (right upon setting food in Manila) is pritong galunggong plus manggo and bagoong. Hayyy buhay.

  39. ECC, I am here in Houston too. Sometimes, the little mangoes (from Chile) sold by HEB is still in its green stage. Yung bagong dating pa lang. You will have to be lucky to get it, kasi they really sold it for its ripeness, matamis kasi. Some stores especially the ones within the Filipino community sells it as “Manila Mango”. And equivalent of our manggang piko.

  40. hi MM,

    it’s been a while and this post really got me going again…. no combination quite like this two….good with salted red eggs….yummy!

  41. as soon as i arrive there in december, i would like to have lots of green mangoes and ginisang bagoong. hopefully, they’re still in season in december.

  42. as soon as i saw the photo of green mango and the bagoong, my mouth started to salivate (just like everyone else).. gosh, i know we have bottled bagoong (barrio fiesta-spicy)at home, and hopefully there are some mango left from last night. it may not be as maasim as the philippine mangoes, but it’ll be good enough for now just to satisty my craving! hehehe

  43. Good Day!
    I have always enjoyed my visit to your blogs, let alone the eyeball beauty of your fotos and very interesting write ups.
    AND it’s one of my regular PRN digital eyeball hits about food
    and travel. Thank YOU for the pleasure given….BUT…

    DELETE your mango & bagoong fotos! The imagery in your written words + “wordsmith” skills (an unforgivable torture to my 5
    senses). My 6th sense is telling me to scourge around to the
    nearest place I can think of to buy green mangoes,(bagoong in fridge or Lolo’s old kavan). Hubby is from Ceylon and always have his favourite “onion sambol” which is made by me tweeked
    w/ a pinoy cook slant(bagoong & a little coconut sambol).

    Here in Perth…? hopefully we are getting the first harvest of mangoes from the Ord River Valley or Queensland…OR YOU ARE so in big trouble!!!! I’m also probably “on the family way”….my craving is sooo bad. I thought the eucalyptus tree
    outside our house is a Mango tree, I keep looking up for green
    fruit. The leaves looked like a mango tree but all I see right now are bloody gumnuts!!! L.O.L.

  44. I saw these photos days ago, and still I come to look and gawked at it.. still get the same effect… drool, drool, drool, even its early in the morning here in Texas. I really, really must go to the Vietnamese market this afternoon and get me some mangoes and bottled bagoong to cook. Good thing I still have propane in my small hibachi, coz I have to cook the bagoong outside the house. Umm, I still have a can of Thai brand coconut creme..In the meantime,I’ll just go back to the photos and daydream.

  45. Thanks for the wonderful comments about Alavar Bagoong Gata and Alavar Sauce. By the way,i’m Miguel Alavar III,owner of Alavar Foods. If you want to order any of our products e-mail me at or you may call (062)992-5781 and look for me. Yes,indeed! Alavar Bagoong Gata and Green Mangoes are the ‘Perfect Combination’.

  46. My saliva starts to roll-out of my mouth! a half-riped mangoes with bagoong!! AAhhhhh! that sour oriented piece chopped with succulent and literally deep slight sweet and sour mixture of taste,,what a dream to eat those slices! Its been 15 years that i never tasted it! im rude to admit the truth but i really missed it so much! i hope to visit philippines during mango season..My wife look at me strangely when im trying to describe her what is that mango is? she never seen it before as her country has no mangoes at all, they never know what is mango is except on photos, my wife should be surprised later to know that i have 2 trees of this mango tree back home!!!….

  47. Just a thought…
    Bagoong is that not made from anchovies and it has purplish brownish colour?
    Alamang is a shrimp paste with pikish colour.

  48. I’m from Zamboanga and I never thought you’ve actually tasted Alavar’s bagoong already, MM. In Zamboanga, if we ever cook our bagoong at all, it’s with gata. That’s why it’s called Bagon Gata (bagon being the chavacano word for bagoong). It’s bagoong with shrimps a weeny bit bigger than the usual, gata, a touch of sugar and tomatoes. Just stew them together (my mom peels the tomatoes first before adding it into the stew) and stir once in a while until the gata evaporates…in about thirty or so minutes the gata will turn or render into oil and it’s done. She sends me her homemade version all the time. :)

  49. Oh, I just remembered, she also cooks our crabs in a similar way. Boil the coconut milk or gata together with the bagoong. After the first boil, add the crabs and when it’s almost done (say, a minute or so to go) add the coconut cream or kakang gata. yum!

  50. I have just been diagnosed as hypertensive and diabetic and been browsing of the effect of unripe mangoes to those illness in the internet. I love unripe mangoes and I can eat one after another without suffering from acid reflux which I got from eating even a tiny slice of banana or pineapple. Finally after five years of waiting, the mango trees that I planted adjacent to my property bear fruits. Whenever I have the urge to eat unripe mango I just pick few from the tree and I like the small ones that the seeds are not fully matured. Only that instead of Bagoong I just mixed it with tomatoes and onions dipped in Soy sauce. Too bad, I think unripe mangoes are not allowed in airports.

  51. bakit bagoong ang tawag nyo jan? eh shrimp paste yan, alamang sa tagalog!
    ang bagoong eh yung kulay itim or dark gray (fish ata yun) na sikat sa balayan, batangas or pangasinan…i love dizon’s mangoes; crunchy as always..yummm

  52. manggang hilaw and shrimp paste are good combinations. just like meant for each other forever and ever. i love eating manggang hilawa and shrimp paste. usually that’s in during summer. sometimes parang side dishes twing pritong isda ang ulam namin. yum:D



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