I had one of those people-are-different-from-me-hence-they-do-things-differently-than-I-do realizations a few days ago.
We were recently at a neighborhood potluck/BBQ and as all potlucks go, we were asked to bring something to share.
We decided to bring some mangoes since we got a lot of mangoes in our Bountiful Basket one Saturday. So I cut them up and laid them out on a plate and we headed to the BBQ.
The hostess later that evening commented on how she's never seen anyone cut mangoes in such a way, that it was easier to eat because of it.
I asked her how she normally cuts them up, and she said she's always struggled to take the peel off first, then trying to get the fruit off the pit.
Hmm...that is really weird, I thought to myself, doesn't everyone cut mangoes this way?
Then in my next thought, I realized that the reason why I cut my mangoes this way is because of my parents. My dad was going to school in Hawaii when I was born and the first three years of my life were spent in Hawaii. Tropical fruits like mangoes are in abundance there!
And mangoes are probably in abundance in Hong Kong too where my mom and dad grew up. I'm sure someone taught them how to cut a mango this way. I don't know who it was, but I'm going to say that it's an ancient Chinese tradition to cut mangoes this way!
(I'm sure this is how a lot of people have been doing it for years, but I like to play up my heritage whenever I can!)
Anyway, here's quick and easy guide on how to cut and eat a mango ala ancient Chinese tradition.
Disclaimer: Lee is helping me cut the mango while I take pictures. In other words, I do not have big man hands and hairy sausage fingers.
You need your mango, a cutting board, and a good sharp knife.
A mango has a narrow side...
And a wide flat side.
There is a large flat pit, which can be quite fibrous around it--you want to make sure you cut around it. So, you're going to cut along the wide flat side just a little off of center.
As you can see, the pit is a whitish color.
Flip to the other wide flat side and cut that section off like the first side, just a little off center.
You will then have 3 pieces: one piece with some fruit and the pit and two pieces of only fruit.
Because there is a bit of good fruit left around the pointy side of the fruit, cut those sections off. Because the pit is like a flat, oval shaped, when you're cutting the sides, don't cut straight down. Cut along the contour of the oval shaped pit. You can either lay it down and cut...
Or you could stand it up and cut downward.
Here's what the mango pit looks like with most of the fruit cut off.
We had a rule in our house that if you cut the mango, you got to eat what was left on the pit. We fought for this privilege.
Now to make the mango easier to eat: Start by cutting into the flesh of the skin in parallel cuts, making sure you don't cut the skin.
Then cut in the other direction to make a cross hatch pattern.
You can see that Lee was careful not to cut into the skin. There are a couple of slices along the edges, but that is fine if that happens.
Now, put your fingers on the skin and your thumbs along the edges of the fruit and push it "inside out", raising the fruit apart from itself.
And from there, you can bring the mango to your mouth and pull off a cube of fruit with your teeth.
So now, please try cutting your own mango, ancient Chinese style!