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Mango to the max

By Doreen Yu Published Nov 23, 2023 10:08 am

Is the mango our national fruit? Officially, not quite, as there is no law declaring it as such. Only the sampaguita (national flower), narra (tree), Philippine Eagle (bird), Philippine pearl (gem) and arnis (martial art) are officially our national symbols, by virtue of Republic Act 8491.

But by acclamation, the mango is for sure our national fruit.

Everybody loves mango, some more than others, and they do wonders with this fruit to bring out its versatility and full potential.

Bestseller: Mango Coconut Mousse

There’s a cozy little café on Kamagong street in Makati that celebrates this luscious fruit: Mango Café & Bakeshop. Owners Bok Muñoz and Darryl Modelo came from successful careers with the cargo divisions of international airlines, handling, among others, exports of agricultural products—including mangoes—to markets all over the world. This familiarity with suppliers of export-quality mangoes plays a key role in their post-pandemic, post-retirement venture.

A friend of Darryl’s who was a pastry chef with a five-star hotel and got laid off during the pandemic creates the delectable selection of Mango Café’s cakes and pastries. Since full opening in June (soft opening was last December), the café has been attracting a happy and contented following, including the owners of a chain of food businesses, who have since added Mango Café cakes on the menu at one of their restaurants.

Mango Galera

From the delicious selection of cakes, three have emerged as bestsellers: mango sans rival, mango cheesecake and mango coconut mousse, the latter an airy, silky surprise resting on a soft chocolate cake that looks as good as it tastes. These three popular cakes come in mini and full sizes.

Mango sans rival

A personal favorite is the Mango Galera, six—count them!—layers of chocolate, butterscotch, mangoes, cream cheese… it doesn’t get better than this! But if you’re into something straightforward, go for the Mango Lyn, milky chiffon cake and fresh mangoes—can’t go wrong there.

There are pies, too: Mango Meringue, Mango Coconut Cream, Mango Crumble, Mango Cheesecake, as well as a Brazo de Mangga, a custard topped with a mango rose and mango banana muffin and loaf.

Mango chicken sotanghon guisado with mango-glazed pork with honey garlic

As good as the cakes and pastries are, these guys go out of the box with their short orders. Think Mango Chicken Sotanghon Guisado, or Sinigang Beef Ribs in Mangga, or Kilawin na Bangus sa Mangga. How about Mango Kimchi for a little spice to all that sweetness?

All-day breakfast of beef tapa with mango achara

By mid-November, all-day breakfast dishes like beef tapa, bacon slab and Hungarian sausage sandwiches—all with a mango twist, of course —will be added to the menu.

Oh, and you can buy fresh mangoes as well, since they get deliveries from their suppliers all over the country a couple of times a week, sometimes more often, depending on demand.

Call the café at 8695-9230 to place your order of deliciousness, and delivery is free within Metro Manila for orders of at least one whole cake. But if you’re around the area, do drop by the café and check out the cakes; the coffee’s good, too, and the camaraderie is always great!