The Mango Mafia

11 Madison Ave at 25th Street, New York, NY
(212) 889-0667

Click here for previous Off The Broiler post on Tabla.

Click here for hi-res slide show of the photos!

After many years of demand, the US Department of Agriculture recently approved the importation of mango fruits from India, due to the fact that the Indian government recently procured irradiation equipment that kills all the bacteria and other harmful organisms that would otherwise threaten our domestic crops and make people sick. Unlike other pest control treatments such as cold and heat, fruit irradiation does nothing to affect the flavor and texture and aroma of food products, so its ideal for mangoes.

If you’ve never had an Indian mango, you really do need to go through every effort to procure one. While they are very expensive — currently at about $35 to $40 per case and about $3-$4 per fruit — they are one of the few luxury fruit items that actually deserve to command that price. Because they are perishable and India is so far away, they have to be flown in by air. The aroma and flavor of Indian mangoes, which have a yellow skin and bright yellow flesh as opposed to the kind we typically get with mottled red and green skin with a orange flesh, are nothing like their Latin American and Caribbean counterparts — they have a exotic floral and spicy aroma and yield a lot more juice from the meat.

Unfortunately, because of the high demand, the mangoes are very difficult to find now. They get snapped up as quickly as they land in the states, and many end up in the hands of upscale restaurants. One such restaurant that is in the possession of huge quantities of these mangoes is Tabla, off Madison Square Park in New York City.

Floyd Cardoz, Executive Chef at Tabla. Listen to Floyd talk to me about Indian Mangoes at the 2007 Big Apple Barbecue Block Party by clicking here.

Is this the man who leads the Mango Mafia? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

The two “Dons” of the Mango Mafia, Floyd Cardoz and Danny Meyer.

Promotional Signage for Indian Mangoes.

Not unlike the hoarding cases of illicit power tools which the Soprano family has been known to traffic, the Mango Mafia at Tabla restaurant is in possession of many cases of Indian Mangoes. Tabla currently has Kesar and Banganpalli mangoes, which are two of the very best varieties. The Alphonso season is coming to an end and there only a few of those left.

Our inside agent at Tabla has acquired evidence of MASSIVE hoarding of mangoes. This photograph, taken by one of our agents in the field, shows the Mango Mafia Don presiding over his huge stash.

The Indian mangoes wrapped in their protective casings, in order to endure the rigors of trans-continental shipping.

Executive Chef and Mango Mafia don Floyd Cardoz decides whether our field agent should be privileged enough to eat a Kesar mango.

Slicing off a side and revealing the bright yellow flesh of a Kesar.

Scoring the insides.

Popping the mango half open for eating.

Ready to eat.

Our agent’s final photo before he was forced to retreat from the compound.

4 Responses to The Mango Mafia

  1. Luther says:

    I think the recent buzz about Indian mangoes is the result of a massively successful viral ad campaign. Despite costing three times as much, the Alphonso mangoes I bought at the local Indian grocery store were not much different from the Ataulfo mangoes I can get at any local supermarket. Of course, either is certainly preferable to the awful, large kind with the citrusy, stringy, watery interior.

    The Alphonsos do have an additional bouquet of interesting flavors around the stem end, but are no more pleasurable to eat than the Ataulfos, all things considered.

  2. The Mexican Ataulfos are very nice, particularly the small ones which come like 16-20 to a box, which can be eaten with just a small paring knife and are far less messy to deal with than the big ones.

    I must admit I have not yet had a Alphonso, and as I understand, it is towards the end of the season so we are not getting the “peak” Alphonsos, because they didnt allow importation until much later. The Kesars and Banganpallis each have a very distinctive flavor profile, much different than the Ataulfos, which I like. The Kesar has a saffron smell (Kesar actually means Saffron) and a flowery, litchi like taste, and the Banganpalli is extremely tangy, more like a citrus fruit.

  3. […] Mango Madness After my run-in with the Mango Mafia last week, I’m now completely hooked on Indian Mangoes. The problem is, they are practically […]

  4. […] this out: well-reputed restaurants like Tabla in NYC here – stocking up on Indian mangoes (look at the stacks he’s got!). In that post, they are rightly called the “Mango […]

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