In this post am going to introduce you an important fruit for Thailand, as well as for all of Southeast Asia. The mango tree is essential for Thai agriculture and Thailand is the third biggest mango producer, behind India and China. The mango is an evergreen rainforest tree and originated probably in an area between Myanmar and Indian Assam, but spread early over the whole of Southeast Asia. The tree grows up to 45 meters and can survive over 300 years. The trees only bears fruits once a year between March and June. There are over a thousand varieties of the fruit and hundreds are grown in Thailand. One of the famous ones is the mamuang nam dog maai (“juice of flowers”, see right picture). The mango is consumed either green or ripe as well as integrated in many Thai dishes. Mango is used to create ice creams, milkshakes and juices. The raw fruit is usually eaten with a spicy dipping sauce (see my Post “Nam Chim and green mango“) and the famous mamuang kiaw sa woei (“green mango”, see left picture). The mango has a big cultural significance in Indian influenced cultures like Thailand. In Hinduism the perfectly ripe mango in often held by the Elephant headed God Ganesha (Thai: phra phikanet) and symbolizes perfection. In India, mango leaves are used to decorate archways and doors during weddings and other celebrations. There are many ancient tales about the fruit. The fruit is so important, that it was even declared the national fruit of four countries: Pakistan, India, Philippines and Bangladesh. Thais use the fruit also for healing purposes. They dry the seed of a ripe mango and then boil it in water. This juice is than used to get rid of parasite and worms. The leaves can also be boiled and used to clean wounds and treat inflammatory bowel diseases.