Green Mango with Shoyu, Local Style 

Picking green mango off the tree is like having my own private farmer's market

By Cara Fasone

On my latest trip home to Oahu, I had a mean craving for shoyu mango--tart green mango slices with soy sauce. I’ve always loved the crunchy, sour, green mango doused with shoyu (soy sauce) and vinegar. Shoyu mango is so tangy, it makes you suck your cheeks in; literally “broke da mouth." 

Homemade Shoyu Green Mango
Photo By Cara Fasone

Although I can get mangoes at grocery stores on the mainland, it isn’t the same as picking it off the tree. Finger-picked, fresh fruit just feels more organic. I love that with all the fruit trees in yards across Honolulu, even our biggest city on Oahu still has that small town, country vibe.

Grandma's Garden

My mom’s house in Mililani is like my own private farmer's market. We have pomegranates, avocadoes, papaya, mango,  and tropical flowers like birds of paradise, red torch ginger, blue ginger, and heliconia. All our fruit trees offer luscious fruit, but my mango tree is barren.

Hand-picked avocado (pictured whole) and
a cut pomegranate from my family's tree

Photo By Cara Fasone

My grandma picking tropical flowers from the yard
Photo By Cara Fasone

Green Mango

One day, when my friend Jackie and I were cruising in Kapahulu, we noticed every house had trees loaded with green mango. We were drooling, seeing the bunches of the sweet fruit dangling from the branches. They weren’t ripe yet, still hard and perfect for shoyu mango.

We noticed two local guys fixing their cars outside, Jackie suggested we stop and ask them if we can have some mangoes. She pointed out that there were dozens of overripe mangoes on the ground and we should help by picking them before they go to waste.   

Fresh-picked green mango from Kapahulu
Photo by Cara Fasone

Jackie, who could give Miss Congeniality a run for her money, asked with the biggest of smiles, if we could pick a few green mango. “If can,” I chimed in, meaning if it was not a burden in anyway.

The young men replied with a simple, “Go.” They even brought out the stepladder and apologized for not having a fruit picker.

We said our mahalos and Jackie added, “Aloha still thrives!”

In a world where it seems that nothing is free, it was uplifting to feel the Hawaiian hospitality.  I got my green mango to drench in shoyu, and I was reminded that the aloha spirit is still very much alive.

Shoyu Mango Recipe

I’m not exactly sure where the Shoyu Mango recipe comes from, but it is most likely made up by the melting pot of plantation workers. Shoyu is the Japanese word for soy sauce, so I bet the Japanese immigrants had some input. Filipinos are known to dip their food in vinegar, so they might have also helped concoct this recipe.

Ingredients: 2 unripe green mangoes (crunchy like an apple)

1 cup soy sauce (I like Aloha Shoyu)

½ cup white vinegar

black pepper (to taste)

½ cup sugar (optional)

Directions: Peel green mango and cut up  into bite-sized pieces. Cover with soy sauce and vinegar. Add black pepper and sugar to taste. Enjoy!

How do you eat green mango?

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