Banganapalli, Only Reliable Mango Variety from India

Payari, Possibly the Worst! The ones from the North and the West Just Smell Sweet! Disappointment from India Expo

I visited the Singapore International India Expo yesterday only with the intent of buying some new varieties of luscious mangoes.

With more than 160 booths selling a range of artefacts, fashion jewellery, designer sarees / churidars, other clothing types and food items from India, it was an impressive show.

Some of the artefacts were extraordinary, though at prices not surprisingly shooting through the roof. Food from Makaan Mumbai was good – biriyani and chicken tikkaa with delicious yoghurt-based salad, jilebis and chaat items.

The advertised Mango Village was a part of the event, but it was only one booth selling varieties that are largely available in Little India stores. So, that extent, it was a disappointment. There was one, though, that I thought was new to me – Payari, with Ratnagiri, Alfonso (from different parts of India), Kesar, Totapuri and Banganapalli.

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So, I decided to go for Payari – bought six mangoes for S$15 (six is the minimum quantity). I also picked up six pieces of Alfonso for the same price.

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Quite excitedly, we sliced Payari at home, expecting juicy succulence at its best. In contrast, it was the lousiest mango we have ever had – very sour and hardly sweet. Even the $1 Thai mangoes we hardly buy are sweeter. My family could not take it beyond a single bite. For the sin of buying it, I will have to complete the rest!

Generally, the only reliable mango variety of India is Banganapalli from the South of India. Any mango from outside of the South is not worth the premium it commands – they just smell sweet with taste that is inconsistent.

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Indian mangoes have been available in Singapore since February when the real season starts only towards the end of May.

Mangoes from Pakistan and Myanmar are just as good as the best in India and they are still not available in Singapore. Traders from those countries are perhaps just waiting to send their best produce overseas at the right time.

But for Indian businessman the mantra is “make a quick buck and scoot”, hardly caring about the only thing that has been good about the country.

The show at the Singapore Expo is on till May 1.

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G Joslin Vethakumar

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