Ahhh, I am a VeganMoFo failure!

I’d like to say that I had some big crisis and was dragged kicking and screaming away from the internet for the start of VeganMoFo, but the truth is, I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to fly up to Darwin (where I used to live) and see all my friends from back then, before they all graduated and scattered across Australia. And I’m glad I did; I had an amazing time (my first time travelling alone and everything!). Food-wise, though, there wasn’t an awful lot to write about.

I’d forgotten what a different food scene Darwin has compared to Canberra; in Darwin it’s all about the Asian food (fairly authentic – Darwin has a very large immigrant population – but very greasy) and the tropical fruit. Just about everywhere you went there was fresh juice available, with none of the pretentiousness that you get around juice down south (“no, I don’t want a wheatgrass shot; no, I don’t want to pay five dollars for a cup of ice with a tiny drizzle of juice; no, I don’t know why nobody that works here weighs more than 50kg”). I think the best I had was a banana and lime juice – it doesn’t sound like it should work, but it does. (And yes, it really was like a juice, not like a smoothie… I don’t know how they managed that.)

But the most exciting thing was… INDONESIAN MANGOES! In Australia! Omg!

There are actually a million kinds of mango in Indonesia, but what I mean by Indonesian mangoes is harum manis mangoes, my favourite from when I was growing up there. Harum manis means “fragrant and sweet”, and they are. They’re not sugary-sweet like the Kensington Prides that you usually find here, but they have so much more depth of flavour, with a tart bite to them and another taste I can’t quite place, reminiscent of… coriander? Perhaps? I’m not sure. In Indonesia they’re usually eaten green (as in the picture), which I always thought was just how they were when they were ripe, but apparently they do eventually go yellow: I bought some yellow ones at the market. (I pointed to the green ones, but I suspect the man took one look at me and decided I wasn’t Asian enough to actually want them green, so he gave me yellow ones.)

A harum manis mango. (Thanks to Sexy Chef of flickr for the image.)

A harum manis mango. (Thanks to Sexy Chef of flickr for the image.)

Anyway, when they’re yellow, they taste exactly like a cross between a harum manis and a Kensington Pride. (Or perhaps that’s what they were, and I was right in the first place when I said that the harum manis ones stayed green when ripe?) Very odd.

But in conclusion, harum manis mangoes are my favourite taste in the world (no, seriously, I know I say that about every new food that comes along, but these are a stayer) and I need to move back to the tropics – wait, sorry, I mean, and you need to try them.


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