Written by Dallon Asnes, (Pomona College) Student Correspondent UW in India, Spring 2017
Mango season is now upon us in Varanasi, which means I can finally put these new 500 rupee notes to good use, exchanging them for five kilos of mango at a time.
I have to say, I’m quite the mango aficionado, and I’ve gone around over the past several months introducing myself as such – Mera naam Dallon aur mujhe aam pasand hai (My name is Dallon and I like mango).
As a result, I’ve heard some incredible things about mango products in this country.
In the past few weeks, I’ve been exposed to a variety of mango products as well as a revolutionary method of eating mango that I am excited to share with the world.
So my first mango product in Varanasi was a mango-based jelly-like product that we found at a street stand within a gully of the Gaudolia neighborhood.
By the next week, mangoes started to pop up everywhere, green at first, but they have slowly started to ripen. At the same time, a number of stands started touting their mangoes. These stands have large blenders as well so they can overcharge for the famous mango shake.
Even watching mango lassi being prepared is quite a treat – it’s almost magical to watch the lassi-vala reach into a bowl of freshly cut mango and drop the slices into a creamy concoction.
The mango scene is now dominating the ice cream bars and even our tutorial guru served us mango juice instead of chai!
I wasn’t surprised to learn that Vikash was also fond of mango. Still, I considered myself the foremost authority on mango at the time and could hardly believe it when Vikash told me that there was a better way to cut and eat my mangoes.
Traditionally, I’ve used a knife to cut off the peel of the mango and then slice the mango up into bite-sized chunks. However, the much more efficient way is to cut the mango into slices, ignoring the peel. Then, using a knife or your finger, peel off a corner of the skin at the top of the mango. From there, you can peel the skin down, holding the mango in your hand to take bites, just as if you were eating a tastier version of a banana.
Mango season in Varanasi is just getting into full swing, so we’re all hoping to fully enjoy the mango products here before our program ends in just over a month.