Green Mangoes and Shrimp Paste (The mouth-watering food tandem)

There are many classic food pairings around the world such as tomatoes and basil, strawberries and chocolate, apples and cinnamon, ramen and egg, etc.; But In Southeast Asian cuisine, known for sour dishes. Green Mangoes with Shrimp Paste (bagoong) is the best and intense in my country. This is one of the reasons why green mangoes (especially the real sour ones) are a hit in the Philippines and other nearby countries. Shrimp paste, on the other hand, can be considered as a common condiment that can be paired with fruits, vegetables, meat, and seafood.

Green or unripe Mangoes has been one of the favorite of Filipinos; both young and old. This has been widely cultivated and grown in the country, and when you say Green mangoes or what we call in Tagalog “manggang hilaw” the instant mechanism of the body is to activate the salivary gland, therefore causing salivation. Yes, just the mere thought of green mangoes makes Filipinos crave for it. And of course, it wouldn’t be complete without the favorite shrimp paste, whether sautéed or not. The crunchy consistency and the sour taste of green mangoes compliment the usually salty bagoong alamang very well. This makes them a very good tandem ever since it has been well known.

It is widely known in the Philippines that it is also sold in food carts around the street. Some slice and peel a small unripe mango, the one where you can still separate the seed from the meat and skewer it on bamboo sticks. The part where the seed used to lay can be filled with bagoong alamang and there you have it, a mango on a stick.

Also, we make Enasaladang manga or (Green Mango Salad) wherein we Use the unripe mango and slice into cubes with the onion and ripe tomato and put some shrimp paste. This makes a good side dish for fried or grilled food. It is best eaten with white rice. I personally consider this as an appetite booster because I seem to eat more than the usual when it is around.

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I remember the old times, when I and my friends are playing and suddenly crave for a Green Mangos, we climb up on the tree, but some trees are too high so we used “panungkit” a long thick stick with hook and we can get one. We blowout those green mangoes and dip it in bagoong or spicy salt with a crumple in our faces because of sourness until we are satisfied. The delicious taste of my childhood still running through teenage and adulthood and will never be forgotten until old age.

But as a Filipino have you also seen a little kids eat Manggang Hilaw? Remember the look in their faces while they were chewing? I enjoy looking at their faces but I can’t seem to pull the right adjectives to describe their facial reactions. But why think about the description? If you are in that situation, you’ll surely grab a camera right away to capture the moment. They’ll appreciate the picture when they grow up, and ask where those faces came from until you laugh to each other.

Green mangoes come in different varieties. There is the Apple Mango, Carabao Mango (Manggang Kalabaw), Indian Mango, and Piko. What is your favorite variety?

Does this post made you crave for green mangoes? If I were simply surfing the net. I would literally salivate, (I think you also salivate as you saw the pictures J). I could eat all of this on my own until I fulfill my cravings. And I wouldn’t need company.  

Happy eating everyone!

~Kannalyn Joy Pedrosa

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