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May 2, 2007 02:38 PM

Indian mangoes in the East Bay?

Today's NY Times food section reports on the first shipment of newly-permitted Indian mangoes to the U.S.:

I know it's not exactly the most sustainable, local thing in the world... but I have to try these supposedly incredibly aromatic and flavorful mangoes. Anyone know if anywhere around here is going to carry them? Berkeley Bowl?

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  1. Berkeley Bowl would be the first place I'd call. They have a lot of different mangoes, and are often the first place I see any newly imported fruit.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I was just at the Bowl and they had twelve different kinds of mangoes.
      None of them were Alphonsos, and none of the employees that I asked knew about them. They did have some interesting organic Haitian mangoes, at $2.35 each; a little rich for my wallet. I contented myself with some Manilas for $0.49 each.

      A few weeks ago I bought a large can of Alfonso mangoes at Vik's but have not yet tried them. According to the man at Viks, these canned ones are what the local Indian restaurants use for mango lassi.

      1. re: Robert Lauriston

        Wonder if any of the Indian places on lower University Ave in Berkeley would have these? Mayby Bombay Bazaar? Another place to try would be the Asian markets called Island Pacific Supermarkets. There is one in Vallejo and one in Union City, I think. IIRC these are markets owned by Fillipino companies.

        1. re: gordon wing

          Island Pacific in Union City didn't have them when I checked on Saturday.

      2. I was in Newark today and made a point to stop at two of the Indian grocers there. At Coconut Hill, the clerk at the counter said they'd be getting some but didn't know when. At Kumud, the cashier said they're still waiting for the shipment and to check back in 10 to 15 days.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Stopped at Shalimar market in Union City yesterday, no Alphonso mangoes there yet either.

        2. Stopped by Vik's in Berkeley on Sunday. They don't have them yet but will be getting some. The mangos they did have were priced at $7.99 per box. I didn't get a close look but the box had maybe 9 mangos.

          7 Replies
          1. re: sarvey

            The 'Indian' stores in Chicago have them too. Not too long before they are available in the SF Bay Area.

            1. re: osho

              I just called India Cash and Carry, located in Sunnyvale. Alphonso mangoes will be available around 7 pm tonight. They are frightfully expensive, though. $4 a piece, and $40 for a dozen !

              1. re: osho

                Thanks for the follow-up! I'm away from the Bay Area, so probably will miss this shipment. The other stores who mentioned that the mangoes were on the way might be stocking from the same source and have them too. Hope someone gets there hands on some and can report back. Apparently they're shipped green and may take a while to ripen enough for eating.

            2. re: sarvey

              Try "India Cash and Carry" in Sunnyvale. I know someone who bought it from there. The mangoes may not be ripe and you will have to leave them in a warm place till they ripen.

              1. re: mukesh

                Any word on the availablity of Indian mangoes in San Francisco or the North Bay?

              2. re: sarvey

                The fellow at Viks said they had some last week, at $45 a box (8 in a box, I think).
                "Very expensive because it comes by air", he said.
                He said they would be getting more this week.

                1. re: Joel

                  They are available at several Indian stores. I know they were available at Sugandh in Milpitas last week. Here's an article in today's San Jose Mercury News:

              3. Update in the South Bay: I bought a box of Alphonsos from Sushma Emporium, a tiny Indian store in South San Jose on Blossom Hill & Snell, next to Longs. He is getting them about once or twice a week, and they sell out within 1 or 2 days. $40/box. My box had 11 mangoes. They were green tinged with a slight pinkish shoulder, I was told about 3 days away from ready to eat. I shipped 9 to my dad for Father's Day and kept 2. I finally got to try one 5 days later, cut up in the photo below and its twin still not quite ready.
                Heavy perfume, like a good lassi but more dimension, esp. next to the skin (which I wanted to eat, I swear). Ultra sweet. I think I let it ripen too much (its greener twin might be better). It was a bit more fibrousy than I expected (I kept hearing Alphonsos have no fiber). Def. worth the experience, but too spendy for me.

                He's also selling Kesar mangoes shipped from India, but since I hadn't heard of those before I didn't get any.

                BTW, sushma emporium's got lots of very fresh looking south asian & asian fruits & vegetables. I also bought fresh chinese (small seeded) lychees for $2.99/lb (very juicy & sweet) and a small unknown variety of melon that was sweet even when green for $1.99/lb. Photos at:

                2 Replies
                1. re: Alice Patis

                  Thanks for the South Bay update, Alice. That is pretty pricey. Can you just buy one or two and do you know how much it would be by the pound or count?

                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    At Sushma I think he's selling them $4 each, they're smaller (but rounder) than the champagne mangoes you see at Asian markets, maybe half a pound each. Yes totally pricey and I substantiated it only because it was for my dad, who would value one as much as Kobe beef. I'd say those fresh lychees are a bargain though.

                2. I was at Berkeley Bowl yesterday and there was a handwritten sign saying "Sorry, we do not sell IRRADIATED mangoes from India".

                  So I guess that they have some sort of phobia about IRRADIATED produce.

                  Maybe they just can't get them, and it's a case of sour grapes.
                  By the way (for real) they do sell sour grapes.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Joel

                    Are all Indian mangos irradiated?

                    I'm not looking for a discussion on this board of whether that is good or bad. Each person can make their own descision. I would like to know just based on my own decision about irradiated produce.

                    Excellent to know that what you buy at Berkeley Bowl isn't irradiated. I wish though that stores selling that produce would label it as such so the buyer could make an informed decision.

                    1. re: rworange

                      Just a note about the Indian Mangoes. I got my info from an Indian food distributor - Alfonso Mangoes are in season from Feb-Late May. Once the rains start in India, the mangoes go south very quickly and are no good. Hence, impossible to find now. They are generally very expensive. He fished through a huge stack of boxes of bad ones and found one gem. As soon as you cut into it, the juices flow fast and furious. The flesh was bright orange, sweet, not stringy at all, very juicy and had another quality that I can't quite put my finger on. I didn't know about the irradiated thing, so I didn't ask. They are pricey, but I will be getting my fix come next early spring!

                      1. re: homerandsatchi

                        Thanks for the update... Do the other varieties of Indian mangoes also go out of season when the rains come?

                        On a related note: do you know when Thai mangosteen fruit are in season? I heard the ban was lifted recently, but I haven't found any sources yet.

                      2. re: rworange

                        All Indian mangoes that are imported into the States have been irradiated.

                        Naturally, I agree with you that all irradiated produce should be labeled as such. Same goes for GMO crops, dairy from cows fed growth hormones, cloned meat, etc. Unfortunately, the FDA and USDA do not value transparency as much as most consumers do.