Mankurado, Alphonso, Langra and Kesar: Who will win the never-ending mango war?

Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant reignited the battle of the best mango when he said that the Mankurado variety from his state was far tastier than Maharashtra’s Alphonso

FP Explainers May 06, 2022 16:50:21 IST
Mankurado, Alphonso, Langra and Kesar: Who will win the never-ending mango war?

India is known as the “land of mangoes”, and is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, accounting for almost 40 per cent of global production. AFP

The Summer is here and that means it’s time for mangoes!

It also means that it’s time for us to go militant about mangoes and begin the perennial ‘which mangoes are the best’ discussions, be it in person or even on Twitter.

And it’s not just the aam aadmi that has these debates, but often political leaders join in.

One such instance is that of Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, who on Thursday, stated that the mankurado mango, a native Goan variety, tasted better than the Alphonso, often known as the king of mangoes.

“We all say that the Alphonso mango is popular, but I can say for sure that the mankurado mango is tastier. I can say it with a lot of pride,” Sawant was quoted as saying during an agriculture conference near Panaji.

For those who don’t know, the mankurado mango is the most popular variety in Goa with its high fibre and balanced sugar content and uniform yellow colour. Goans believe that having a mankurado mango tree in the backyard is a matter of great pride. Goans also believe that the mankurado is better than any other mango variety across the world.

However, this isn’t the first time that a mango war was has erupted.

War of yore

The battle for the king of mangoes has long been an issue.

In August 1886, Dr Emmanuel Bonavia wrote a long article in the Pioneer, reprinted in the Times of India, on “Bombay Mangoes and Others’. A botanist from Lucknow, he had described the 'Bombay Mango' as “yellow with a red cheek” and said he found them “not bad, but stringy, and inferior in flavour to scores of varieties we have in Upper India”.

He wrote in his article that “one has heard so much of Mazagons and Alphonsos that one may perhaps have learnt to look on them with a sort of awe”.

Bengal’s pride – the Langra and Himsagar

In Bengal, try telling a local that the langra mango is not all that special and you would get an earful in return.

Originally grown in Varanasi, the langra is known for being fibrous and sweet, as well as for its acidic aftertaste.

As some would attest on Twitter, “East or West, langra is the best”.

And if Bengalis don’t swear by the Langra, then it’s the Himsagar.

A thin-skinned mango characterised by complete absence of fibre, a golden hue, pleasant aroma and unparalleled sweetness, has a massive fan following in the eastern state.

This Twitter user would attest to the greatness of the Himsagar.

Kesar wages war

Kesar, which gets its name from its saffron coloured flesh, is juicy and has very little fibre, making it a favourite in Gujarati homes.

Moreover, Kesar arrives later in the mango season, which only adds to its appeal.

Reports state that the Kesar variety is also more immune to disease and insect attacks, and is Heat resistant, making it a hit with farmers.

Banganapalli is brilliant!

The Banganapalli mango is supposed to have been introduced by the royal family of Banganapalli, a town in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district.

Huffington Post reported that this specific type of mango has also received the Geographical Indication tag.

Nandita Iyer of Saffrontrail sings heavy praises for the variety, saying, "Growing up in Bombay, I was a diehard Hapoos fan, not considering any other mango even worth a taste. But moving to the South India eight years ago made me fall in love with Banganapalli."

Fans of this mango variety have also taken to Twitter to express their love.

Whatever the argument may be, one thing that no one can deny is that mangoes are the best!

With inputs from agencies

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