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Jun 14, 2010 12:50 PM

Unfortunate mistake--I bought mangda chutney, not mango chutney

I live in a rural area and I have an 83 year old neighbor who is a very adventurous eater. I have to travel 100 miles to reach a grocery that has anything that doesn't start with "Chef Boy-R". I do this at least once a month and my neighbor always asks me to pick things up for him, especially at the Asian grocery. One of his staples is hot mango chutney. I always get a couple jars, it is his favorite condiment. I will buy different brands, mango relish or pickle instead of chutney, he likes them all.

So last time I accidentally bought some mangda chutney instead of mango and I didn't notice my mistake until I got home. I didn't know what it was, my eye just saw the "mang" and I bought it. He likes everything, so I gave it to him and he said it was OK. Well I got curious later and I googled it--it's made of giant Thai water bugs ("mangda")! Of all the possible random mistakes.

So I told him and he was fine with it because he ate it. I just wanted all of you to know that there is a true Chowhound living in rural Oregon who doesn't have a computer but knows all about all of you. We have been working through rworange's list of her 50 favorite sardines for 6 months now (those we have to mail order). And anything new I hear about on these boards we try together. We make sous vide chicken in the crockpot. We even made a Crack Pie. I know this site is about sharing information but you all make us feel a little less isolated, too. And thank you very much for that. Really.

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  1. So what did it taste like? Did he tell you?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      I tried approximately 3 molecules of it. Because the overriding flavor was the hot chili paste (the jar said "extra hot"), I am not sure what the mangda flavor part was. It was a little tinny, a little skunky, a little fishy. It tasted a little like hot Asian shrimp paste. It wasn't delicious like a condiment should be. But I don't think I was impartial, though, because I had a big giant "Eww!!" in my brain the whole time, because I'd seen pictures of the 8 cm bugs on the internet.

    2. Despite eating beetle paste, your story is pretty awesome! How cool that you can enjoy tasty (and not so tasty) things together so far out there!

      1. It is heart-warming and inspiring to read a post like yours. Real human connection is valuable and precious, and you and your neighbor are lucky to share such a special bond!

        1. I enjoyed reading your post immensely, and as life goes, whenever you see something for the first time, as seeing the mangda chutney description was for me, you start to see it everywhere. Although I'll probably never try the chutney, thank you for enlightening me. This tidbit was in my inbox this morning:

          6 Replies
          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Isn't that funny? What an extremely odd coincidence. I'll print that page for my neighbor. Thank you.

            1. re: runwestierun

              Yes, life is full of coincidences. I never would have even noticed it if I hadn't read your post first. You did click on the true mangdana link to the photo, yes? I hope you don't scare your neighbor too much with the photo,;-) but if he's the very adventurous type, as you suggested, he might get a real kick out of it.

              1. re: bushwickgirl

                Oh, no, I printed photos for him from a Thai site when I first found out, so he saw the bugs. He was unfazed, but he thought it was funny that the name "mangda" was also slang for a freeloading unemployed boyfriend. He got a bigger kick out of that than the fact that he'd just eaten a big jar of bugs. Thank you for the link, though. I like how it explains the flavor. Mine was camoflaged with the fiery Thai nuclear death peppers that were also in the jar. It'd be interesting to try some that aren't "extra hot". Well, ok, maybe interesting to him.

            2. re: bushwickgirl

              The weird thing about the flavoring is that it's nothing like what you would imagine, not buggy or fishy, it's rather artificial fruity/banana-y. The HK Supermarket on Hester in Manhattan carries it and I made myself smell it one day when I was looking for and bought pandan flavoring. So how come the chutmey wasn't I wonder?

              1. re: buttertart

                Probably because it was so hot? And maybe what I was tasting was added fish sauce. Also, my mind was not completely open because of the BUGS. And I'd never even heard of them before, so I wouldn't have known to look for a fruity note beneath the fire. I guess fear rendered my taster useless.

                1. re: runwestierun

                  You're a braver taster than I, runwestierun, I'm not sure I would have gone there. (Have eaten a roasted ant once but that's the extent of my voluntary insect eating.) I was very struck by how unlike what I expected the extract was.

            3. Love your post. What a wonderful relationship you 2 have.