When we visited the Lulu Mall, one of the things I definitely wanted to do was check out the hypermarket that was on its ground level. I don’t think I’d ever been inside a hypermarket, but it’s exactly what it sounds like: a massive store that combines a supermarket and a department store. Here, you can not only get your weekly grocery haul, but also pick up kitchen supplies, trousers, a dress, diapers, pencils, a lamp — almost anything! Of course, hypermarkets would be a thing in the fast-paced world of India!
It was a total zoo inside: endless people streaming in and out and in literally every single one of its very long aisles. While there, I picked out a new ladle (I LOVE the utensils in India; when we were here last, I bought a large stainless steel spoon and handled strainer in a kitchen supply shop in Chennai, both of which I still use every time I make chai on the stove), a mix for appam (remember that I said the mixes in India are GOOD and have zero preservatives?!), plus TWO mangoes.
I could not believe my eyes when we got to the produce aisle: multiple rows of mangoes, all labeled, of course, by varietal. In India, a mango is not just a mango: you must share what variety it is. I kept feeling the mangoes to see which were ripe enough for us to eat in the next day since we’d be leaving soon for the next leg of our trip. And I finally settled on two: the gudadath and the nadasala. The gudadath is native to the state of Kerala, with a thick texture that is extremely juicy, perfumey, and huge in size and weight. Some gudadath mangoes can weigh as much as 600 grams and be larger than the size of my face! The second mango, the nadasala, was originally cultivated in Tamil Nadu. It is smaller than the gudadath, rounder like a kesar, and is sweet, perfumey, and floral. I read that it’s a popular juicing mango.
The hotel indulged me, once again, and had a kitchen staff member cut my mangoes and send them to our room. I stared at the flesh of both mangoes lovingly: they looked so different than the Mexican mangoes we normally eat, and even versus the neelam, himsagar, alphonso, and kesar mangoes we’d eaten in India! Both mangoes’ flesh were almost translucent, a deep yellow-orange color. The gudadath texture is akin to jelly if you can believe it. It was extremely juicy, sweet like honey with all these different complex notes. The nadasala was also extremely juicy, dripping sweet with a nice surprise of tartness at the end of each bite. The flesh, similar to the gudadath, was also on the softer side and a bit translucent. It’s no wonder the nadasala is a top choice for making mango juice!
Mangoes in India — it’s really just another world here with this magical fruit. The varieties are endless, and the complexities of flavor and the meatiness of the flesh are just so unique. The only regret I have from this trip to Kerala is that we did not taste even more varieties of mangoes! Also, I’m pretty bummed that during this entire time, Pookster absolutely refused to eat ANY mango at all! She had eaten so many ataulfo mangoes over the last few months and has been on quite the mango strike for the last several weeks. This was just blasphemous to me!