Finally, Indian mangoes reach South Asians in Chicago


Chicago : The first shipment of the famed Indian mangoes – banned by the US for 18 years – has landed in Indian and Pakistani grocery stores across Chicago.

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Patel Brothers, an importer of South Asian products, picked up its first shipment Thursday.

Till last month, the South Asian community in the US had to satisfy themselves with a Mexican variety of mangoes due to a trade ban imposed on Indian mangoes by the US government for close to two decades. The ban was lifted in April this year.

"Indian mangoes fill the whole room with an aroma you can't find anywhere else," said Tulsi Patel, 36, a first-generation Indian American. "A bite of an Indian mango takes you back where you were 10,000 miles away."

For the South Asian community, a taste of these mangoes comes with a hefty price tag. The Indian variety will cost $30-35 per dozen, versus the $6-12 price tag for Mexican mangoes, Medill Northwestern said.

A grocery clerk at Par Birdie in Devon Avenue, a South Asian neighbourhood, said customers have been asking about Indian mangoes for weeks.

"Indian mangoes are just more tasty," said Ali Khan, from behind the cash register at Par Birdie.

"I especially remember the sweetness from my childhood," said Ali Yusef, 65, an Indian American who moved to the US from the Indian city of Hyderabad.

"In Hyderabad, mango trees surrounded the street where my house was. People would even grow mango trees in their homes. We did," he said.

India is the world's largest producer of mangoes – 12 million tonnes harvested each year – but accounts for less than one percent of the global mango trade.