When I asked, I was told that there were at least 50 different versions of mangos in the Caribbean, brought here by the Indian indentured servants. Aaron watches for birds; I watch for mangos. I’m on constant surveillance for sidewalk mango vendors, since they pop up all over the city at different times selling different varieties. This makes for a lot of u-turns.
Everybody has a favorite mango. My favorite was the Julie, because its pit is small compared to the amount of fruit. Also, it doesn’t require flossing like some do. But, just now I found this new kind. Everything the Julie does, this one does better. It’s about twice the size, perfectly balances tartness and sweetness and it also boasts beautiful swirls of pink, orange, and green skin. I asked the vendor what it was called and he said, Apple Mango, but when I asked my friends about it, they’d never heard of it. Due to the diversity of Trinis, it’s not uncommon to have multiple names (and multiple spellings) for the same things here.
People eat mangos like apples here, just taking a bite and spitting out the skin. I assumed Julies were everyone’s favorite, but the more people I ask, the more specific the mango preferences are. Sham, our Oropuche tour guide, favors Spice mango, but says they don’t grow in northern Trinidad.
One of my favorite tastes is mango chow. Think pre-ripe (green) mango sliced into strips, so a little sweet and a little snap when you bite it. Add some acid with vinegar and some spice with pepper. Mix in some cilantro-tasting shado-beni and some salt…a rollercoaster of triumphant flavor.