I know what you’re thinking – the sound of fruit and shrimp paste together does not sound the most appetising and I must admit, this is not for everyone’s palate or for everyone to try. I used to snack on this when I was young (and still do) because I absolutely loved it.
I was born in Manila, Philippines, a tropical country where green mangoes are always found in the street markets. They are available all the time. These green mangoes are very sour. Imagine a granny smith apple but five times the sourness but not quite sour as lemons. We would have it as “miryenda” (afternoon snack) with salt, or sugar or sometimes bagoong. Bagoong (pronounced “bah-goh-ong”) is a shrimp paste made out of fermented, ground minute shrimp and commonly used in a lot of Filipino and Southeast Asian dishes as part of the dish or as an accompaniment. It varies on appearance, flavour and spiciness depending on the type. It’s salty and has a strong unpleasant aroma so I don’t recommend bringing this to work and eating at your desk – you’ll just get strange looks from your co-workers. Anyway, we would peel the skin on the mango and only eat the yellow fleshy part. I usually thinly slice the mango and use a little bit of the bagoong as topping.
Call me crazy but a lot of Filipino’s love this combination. It’s a strange taste with the sour and salty flavours together, but there’s something so good about it. Everytime I have this, it really takes me back to my childhood.
If this is something you think you might want to try, you may have to scout for it. Here in Australia, green mangoes and bagoong are not available at your green grocer or supermarket. They can be found mostly in asian grocers or in suburbs where a lot of Southeast Asians reside.
So, if you like sour, give the green mango a try. If you like salty, give the bagoong a try. If you’re game and daring or just want to try something new, then try them both at the same time. You can always refer to it as an experience otherwise, hehe :).