Mango mania in the US

Published: August 1, 2011

Mangoes, the love of Mirza Ghalib’s life, the king of fruit, and the object of many a Pakistanis’ desire, finally landed for the first time in Chicago.

After a quick trip to the facility for chemical treatment, the mangoes, boxed up in cartons bearing the US and Pakistan flags, were wheeled into the ballroom of the Hilton, where the Pakistan Embassy held an inaugural event to “introduce the mangoes to the United States”.

The event started off trying to be a less classy version of a J&S event and ended up being a wedding.

Women from the Pakistani community, clad in their finest, exchanged gossip over mangoes, while men debated foreign policy, business and their two cents on Pakistan, while cradling ‘chaunsas’ that were on display. A green and white cake was wheeled out towards the end, for Ambassador Hussain Haqqani and his wife Presidential spokesperson Farahnaz Ispahani to cut.

The mangoes themselves were a delight to behold and were presented with the Government of Pakistan insignia in the form of an ice sculpture. While the sculpture did not melt (which would’ve been highly ironic) – the mangoes and different mango desserts presented did melt in many a mouth, even if some sniggered that the mangoes did not seem to be wholly Pakistani and were mixed in with another kind.

According to Ambassador Haqqani and various embassy officials who’ve been working on getting Pakistani mangoes to the US, they had to get through 78 steps and two years, before they finally saw one land here. In a sense, said one official, we’re trailblazers, so now anyone who wants to import mangoes, can. Yet, to the best of one’s knowledge, the formalities haven’t been completed yet, so there is no time frame available of when, and maybe even if Pakistani mangoes will be available in the US. Given the high costs and the market flooded with cheaper Mexican mangoes, it really is a gamble whether the love of Ghalib’s life, will ever find a home in the US.


Huma Imtiaz

A correspondent for The Express Tribune based in Washington DC

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Saad Durrani

    Absolutely lovely to read. I loved the “suspicious” side of it. Mixed with other varieties, God bless our Pakistani hearts. We suspect thing. LOL!Recommend

  • Abbas from the US

    As mango lovers, we wait to finally see the Pakistani variety in the open market. Although the Indian Alfanso variety is already available during a small window of time in the mango season. Currently to get a taste of the Pakistani mango one needs to visit neighbouring Canada, the only country in North America that allows the import of the Pakistani variety for the moment.
    Thanks for helping raise our hopes to taste the Pakistani mango in the near future.Recommend

  • Ch Allah Daad

    I don’t know what future holds for Chicago, but in Toronto Areas, the quality of Pakistani mangoes have declined during last three years. Before, Pakistani mangoes were sold within hours on their arrival, now you can find them anytime rotting in stores. I hope importers don’t disappoint Pakistanis in Chicago.Recommend

  • AJ Merchant

    “The King” has arrived in town!
    In a recent exhibition organized by the Pakistani embassy and the mango distributors, in Chicago, our very own mangoes were put up for display. The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has approved and will insure that Pakistani mangoes, like all goods imported, will be processed through a facility every time according to the US regulation. This approval was made possible by the technology developed by our very own Pakistani mango distributors with the help of a well-known organization, USAID. This is a great venture for both our countries’ industries and friendship. I only hope that we, the Pakistani community here will not be disappointed and I will be able to enjoy my Langras and Sindris for years to come!Recommend

  • http://none Bangash

    I guess this is what Pakistani foreign ministry and bureaucrats are paid the big bucks and perks for…..successfully exporting a few mangoes to the US.

    Mangoes, socks, dental instruments, wheat and towels = Pakistan economy.Recommend

  • parvez

    According to a local Pakistani paper’s report people were allowed to take away the fruit and there were ladies stuffing mangoes into expensive handbags and men filling their suit pockets with as much as they could carry. Is this for real or was it just gossip to spice up the report ?Recommend

  • Mahrukh

    I think its lovely to read this news. I think there will be lots of people importing mangoes from now on as I will love to eat few. Good Luck Pakistan. Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    Let’s hope that this will also somehow improve the current dip in relationship and both countries would realize and accommodate each others views.Recommend

  • Nobody

    Read about this a few months ago and have since been awaiting the arrival of mangoes from the motherland, as the mangoes I’ve had in Pakistan are far superior to those I’ve had anywhere else. Recommend

  • sameed

    i believe that we should call for an embargo on export of mangoes from pakistan… lets not deprive the poor pakistanis of this natural gift… Recommend

  • AJ Merchant

    This is a great opportunity for Pakistan to increase their GDP. You should be happy and appreciative. It doesn’t get any better than this; at least not in Pak.Recommend

  • CB Guy

    From what i hear Pakistani mangoes are available in New York grocery stores, not just Pakistani stores but regular stores as well. A single costs 9-10 dollars coz of its supreme quality. Mexican Mangoes are terrible, i have tried em and they are more or less tasteless.

    @ bangash: Ask the Chinese government how much revenue they make of socks and towels and you would probably realize how much a boost our industry can have by taking a chunk of that away. if we are to succeed as an economy, we have to produce, for both home and away markets, from a toothpick to ships. Nothing is too small or too big, we just have to do it. Recommend


    mango is the king of fruit but who is the queen of fruit????????

    tell some one plz……….. i want another blog on that issue. huma imtiazRecommend