Muscat: As the Indian mango season ends and the Pakistani season continues, expats from both countries have been crossing swords online as to which country produces the tastier version of the popular fruit.
Despite Oman importing far more mangoes from India than Pakistan, expats in Oman from both countries are busy trying to convince each other theirs offerings are superior.
Patriotic fervour seemed to grip both Indian and Pakistani residents in Oman. While the Indian mango season has just ended, Pakistani mangoes are still being imported into the Sultanate, with the crop in Pakistan being harvested later.
“You cannot compete with Pakistani mangoes, especially chaunsa, sindhri, anwar letor & langra,” crowed Shahid Afzal, rattling off the names of the most popular Pakistani mangoes.
“The Pakistani mango is the number one mango!” claimed Rayan Khan Afridi, another Pakistani expat in Oman. “In many stores, I have seen Pakistan mangoes placed ahead of Indian ones, just to show people that they are better.”
Undeterred – or maybe spurred on by this – Indians living and working in Oman also responded in kind.
“The alphonso mangoes from the Ratnagiri district in India are the king of mangoes,” countered Meena Pandya. “There are none to beat them, with regards to taste and the awesome colour. There are others as well, such as kesar, rajapuri, langda, etc. from India’s different regions.
“When the Indian mangoes are no more in season the others are available, and these are also good,” she added. “We eat fruits and veg from all over the world, and Lulu Hypermarket holds a mango fest and there are more than 100 varieties from around the world.”
“Alphonso mangoes from India are number one,” retorted Viral Shah. “People commenting about Indian mangoes having no taste should immediately consult a doctor for to get their taste buds tested.”
Both sets of expats were quick to praise their versions of the overwhelmingly popular fruit, with the Indians unreservedly expressing their fondness for the alphonso mango, while Pakistanis seemed to love the fruity, pulpy flavourful fruits their nation grew.
“Pakistani mangoes are best, due to their unique taste, pulpy & juicy body, with the blend of love & sweetness that goes into growing them,” said Zee Shan, even as Muhammad Khurram added, “Pakistani mangoes are the best, there is no match to the other mangoes of the world.”
But Syed Ahmed, an Indian, countered with, “Alphonso mangoes are the most delicious and they are one of my favourites. It originated in India.”
Ramanuj Venkatesh, assistant accounts manager at Larsen and Toubro, though, was quick to see the positives this brought for expats in Oman.
“Pakistan’s expat population of 220,000 is a quite a huge number out of the entire expatriate population of two million,” he said “When a mango has been picked up by the average Pakistani consumer, he feels more at home as the very sweet fragrance and the delectable taste justifies its market price.
“This bodes well to the Pakistani economy as the foreign exchange earned from this lucrative export amounts to 75 million dollars on average,” he added.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, India is the world’s largest producer of mangoes, growing about 18 million tonnes of the fruit per annum, with Pakistan producing just under a 10th of that, or 1.7 million tonnes.
Oman ranks among the top 10 importers of Indian mangoes, having brought in nearly a thousand tonnes of the fruit from India in 2016-17, which is worth about OMR4.9 million.
In addition, Oman has consistently ranked among Pakistan’s top mango importers, bringing in about six tonnes of the fruit, at a cost of OMR1.3 million in 2015, the last year for which statistics are available.
Courtesy Oman Times