Houston’s best mango dishes for summer

Houston’s best mango dishes for summer

When Houston is hot and steamy, I recommend matching your eats to the environment by indulging in a tropical repast: the magnificent mango.

This superior stone fruit is divine sliced and with a sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt; however, as an ingredient, mango adds a dimension of bright sweetness that transforms the pedestrian into something par excellence. Houston chefs seem to agree as evidenced by their diverse deployment of the mango; here are our picks for some of the most stellar mango dishes in Houston.

Khao Neow Ma Muang, Kim Dee

Khao Neow Ma Muang at Kim Dee.

Khao Neow Ma Muang at Kim Dee.

Courtesy of Kim Dee

Sticky rice with mango is a staple at many Asian restaurants, but Kim Dee’s version stands out for its use of superior mamuang nam dok maai (flower nectar mango), a special variety of mango cultivated in Thailand, slices of which flank a mound of toothsome grains swollen with coconut milk.

Mango Sweet and Sour Chicken, Nara Thai

Nara Thai's unique sweet and sour mango chicken dish.

Nara Thai’s unique sweet and sour mango chicken dish.

Neal Parisawan

Sunny, tart slivers of mango serve as a wonderful complement to lightly battered fowl in this colorful mix of poultry, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and scallions. The spice level of the pineapple and tomato sauce is sufficient to enliven both the chicken and the mango with notes of pepper. 

Should you elect to go “Xtra Hot” when ordering an entree at Tarka, the best way to beat the heat is by alternating bites with sips of a soothing mango lassi. Made with fresh mango puree and thick yogurt, this tangy concoction can temper but not altogether extinguish the terrific fire of Tarka’s curries (i.e., that mean mirch masala). 

Ricky Roll, Osaka

I don’t know who Ricky is, but I’m guessing he is a fan of mango given that his namesake hand roll combines crunchy tempura shrimp with supple bits of ripe mango. Slim sticks of kani (imitation crab meat) draped on top as well as a drizzle of soy sauce contribute jolts of oceanic saltiness that provide a lovely contrast to the milder flavors of the starch and fruit.

Mangonada at Arnaldo Richards' Picos.

Mangonada at Arnaldo Richards’ Picos.

Michael Anthony

In Picos’ mangonada, barely melted golden mango puree is swirled with tequila and cointreau to create a stunning ombre effect, and then the glass rim is liberally coated with tajin, ensuring that each sweet slurp comes with a spicy bite. Finally, this brilliant cocktail is adorned with mango fruit leather and sour Mexican gummies, rendering it almost too gorgeous to drink.

Mango Juice with Rice Balls and Mango Ice Cream, Mango Mango Desserts

As its name suggests, this establishment specializes in sweet endings starring mango, and while multiple items on the menu qualify for this list, we are partial to the bowl of mango juice garnished with a hefty serving of pea-sized rice balls and a scoop of soothing mango ice cream. 

Dark Chocolate Pastilla With Mango Sauce, Etoile

Etoile's dark chocolate pastilla with mango sauce.

Etoile’s dark chocolate pastilla with mango sauce.

Sean Ranier

When chocolate is involved in a dessert, it’s rare for another component to rival it for attention. But such is the case with this pastilla, a type of pie brought to France by Moroccan immigrants, which at Etoile is filled with dark chocolate and dressed with a piquant mango sauce. Despite the decadence of the cocoa oozing from the puff pastry, somehow it’s that irresistible mango that makes you want to lick the plate.

Cantacuya at Monkey's Tail.

Cantacuya at Monkey’s Tail.

Kirsten Gilliam

Composed of beam black, madeira, dos xx, tiki syrup, lime, passion fruit and mango, the cantacuya is heady yet refreshing. Warning: while the friendly notes of mango make it seem innocent, this potent punch is not for the faint of heart. 

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