Cost: 158 yen for 3
Found At: Yamadai
I did not need to know that they sold mango pudding in the grocery store across the street. I could have happily lived my life without this knowledge. I could have gone to the store every few days and passed by the “pudding” section, completely untempted by the items on offer.
I always like seeing how other cultures interpret foreign food. In Tacoma, a mango pudding is thick and mushy, as any good pudding should be. It’s basically a chocolate mousse that just happens to be made of mango and not of chocolate. In Japan, a pudding needs to have a little more structure – a little more gelatin holding it together into an attractive shape. I can only guess what a mango pudding must look like in India or Hong Kong or Thailand where I am variously told it is from. It’s one of those dishes where a search for “authenticity” is a pointless exercise. However you choose to make it, it’s just a different variation on delicious.
Firm, it may be, but this pudding is still that sweet, tart, wonderful dessert that I remember from my childhood – my gateway drug into exotic fruits. It’s flavorful and colorful, a perfect finish for a spicy meal and a wonderful remedy for hot, humid Pacific summers. My only regret is that I didn’t know about it sooner, during this long, hot summer months. But perhaps, I’ve done myself a favor – I’d have been much poorer had I known.