Sunday, June 6, 2010

Taiwan's Greatest Contribution to Mankind

For all of us, there are different signs around us that let us know that it is summer. The scent of burning charcoal wafts through the early evening air and it seems like, no matter where you are, there is always the distinct sound of children splashing in a pool echoing in your ears. Perhaps the longer days make you think of watermelon, hot dogs, and homemade ice cream. Americana at its best. In Taiwan, we have a new appreciation for summer because it means the beginning of something very special: mango season.

If you have not had a fresh mango from a tropical climate, you have not lived. After two years here, I have come to the inevitable conclusion that mangoes are edible proof that God loves us. I challenge any evolutionist, after biting into a fresh, juicy piece of heaven, to look me in the eye and tell me that this fruity perfection happened by accident. Mango season is perhaps the most highly anticipated time of year, possibly even beating out holiday season at Starbucks. Not only do we get to enjoy fresh mangoes in all of their glory, but the Taiwanese take this fruit to a whole nother level in their greatest contribution to mankind: the mango bing.

As many of the most delectable recipes are, the mango bing is surprisingly simple. One starts with a heaping bowl of shaved ice upon which the creator drops the perfect ratio of fresh mango slices. Topping it all off, sweetened condensed milk (aka the nectar of heaven) is drizzled all over the top of this perfect summertime treat. Tasting this ambrosia is nothing short of a celestial experience. It is my personal goal to recreate this pleasure with as much exactitude as possible this summer as we head back Stateside.

Between mango bing and Vietnamese coffee, it has become obvious to me that we do not use sweetened condensed milk nearly often enough. Let’s remedy that, shall we?

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