Green Mangoes and shrimp paste – the most salivating food tandem, The...

Green Mangoes and shrimp paste – the most salivating food tandem, The Philippines

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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.

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Shrimp paste is locally called Bagoong alamang, made from very small shrimp or krill or what is termed as alamang. The eating experience with green mangoes will never be complete without this as they are considered partners in crime. Bagoong differs in appearance depending on the location it is made. Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are the major geographical divisions in the Philippines which all produces these delectable shrimp paste. Although the taste significantly differs from the place of origin, alamang is the common denominator as it is the main star of this condiment. This may range from spicy, salty to sweet and the color of the sauce is usually pink but the shade may vary depending on the cooking time and the ingredients used when it is sautéed. Bagoong can also be used alongside with the Filipino dish Kare-kare or what is commonly known as braised oxtail in peanut stew and it is also the main element for another dish called binagoongan.

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 can be a snack or a viand coupled with hot steaming rice. The mouthwatering sour taste of the unripe mango blends well with the sumptuous salty goodness of the bagoong.

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It is widely known in the Philippines that it is also sold in food carts around the street. You will never see any street that does not offer these crunchy goodies. 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. Just be careful eating it as the alamang can spill out and stain your clothes.

This is my all-time favorite, I remember when I was still in Grade school and I make sure I still have money until the school is over just to purchase green mangoes from my favorite vendor. And in addition to that I’d scoop a heaping tablespoon of sweet bagoong alamang. Just the mere thought of my childhood memory makes me salivate and crave for more mangoes. The delicious taste of my childhood still running through teenage and adulthood and will never be forgotten until old age.

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/// Written by Lady Mher Constantino, The Philippines