Sunday, March 8, 2009

This is the Horse Mango.  It is also called the Mamut or Malamut in Thai.  This fruit, as its botanical name, "Mangifera foetida" (synonym: Mangifera horsfieldii) implies, is a member of the mango family.  

Mangifera foetida (foetida means 'smelly') occurs wild in dipterocarp (trees of the family Dipterocarpaceae, such as Red lauan tree, Shorea teysmanniana) forests of Peninsular Malaysia, Peninsular Thailand, Sumatra and Borneo, in areas where there is abundant rainfall, at elevations of above 1,000 meters.  

Its fresh fruit contains an irritant juice which may inflame the lips and mouth. When the fruit is mature this irritant juice becomes restricted to the skin, so that the ripe fruit can be eaten fresh if it is peeled fairly thick. Every 100 gramme of the edible portion of the fruit contains 72.5g water, 1.4g protein, 25.4g carbohydrates, 21mg calcium, 15mg phosphorus, 0.03mg thiamine, 0.218mg carotene and 56mg vitamin C. 

This certainly isn't a fruit you're going to find at the local market, whether from the West, or even from Southern Thailand where the fruit is often found.  Mam asked around about it, and found many market proprietors either didn't know about it or said, "It smells too bad," to sell at their stands.  According to Mam, this fruit is virtually unknown in the Northeast of Thailand where it's too dry to propagate and nobody bothers to export the fruit from its Southern haunts.  
I love the fruit.  The smell doesn't bother me at all, although I put the smell right up there with the King Of Fruits, the Durian.  Mam, however, places the fruit in a plastic bag and hangs it on a tree limb outside our house since she hates the smell and thinks it is much worse than Durian.  She's not alone since many other locals hate the smell and consequently haven't even tried the fruit due to its smell.  If this is your first time reading my postings, I've written about the Durian previously and although the smell is described as anything from rotting garbage to dirty socks, I have to go with the "rotting garbage" smell myself.  

The taste is very, very tart.  It has an orangeish/lemonish taste to it (damn it's hard to describe tastes!) and will surely make you pucker.  The fruit meat is very stringy and after you've sucked all the good juice out of it and off the large seed inside, you'll have a mouthful of stringy pulp to spit out.  It's rich tasting too, and I can only eat maybe two at the most in one day.  

Hope you enjoyed this posting.  Feel free to leave a comment!