I have a track record of lampooning TJ's attempts at recreating ethnic foods. There are some that frankly deserve that while others are actually a modest nod at the real thing. But I can only lampoon the foods that I've actually had the privilege of having out there in the real world. Is TJ's not real food? Yes and no. Can I honestly expect a fair comparison between frozen aisle meatballs dunked in a jarred sauce against an Italian grandma's meatballs in slow-simmered marinara? Of course not. But how many times, much to A's displeasure (turkey falls low on the meat hierarchy for him. It's down there next meatloaf. A wannabe meat), have I fallen back on those trusty turkey meatballs? Authentic or not, real people flock to TJ's for real food that gets them through their days. TJ's does a decent job of scouring the globe for interesting and perhaps unfamiliar foods, packaging them in cute and sometimes irresistible packaging, and exposing them to the masses. Which is exactly what they did here.
I thought TJ's might have saved this for this year's mango mania, if that's still going to be a thing, but I suppose with all the cold, gray weather it serves as a vicarious escape to the tropics. These mangos are new to the frozen fruit selection. They cost more than the plain frozen mango chunks, but reasonably so considering that these are Filipino. $3.99 for 1 lb. Not terrible but more than I want to pay for frozen fruit.
I can't say that I remember having a carabao mango before, but if they're anything like the mangos of southern Taiwan that taunt my mango dreams, they've got to be sweet.
I compared them with my go-to mango chunks for reference. Some people stock their freezers with ice cream in the summer months. I stock mine with these.
These are hands down my favorite. At $2.99 for 24 oz, these are easily the best deal around compared to standard grocery stores. They also come in massive chunks, much bigger than other store brands that I've tried. Can't vouch for Costco though. If Kirkland churns out a better, cheaper frozen mango, y'all gotta let homegirl know.
I've come to rely on these year round. These hail from Mexico. They certainly don't replace those dreamy Taiwan mangos by any means, but they get the job done. I've nearly given up on trying to buy actual mangoes at the market. The ones I find in the grocery store are almost always green, which means waiting for them to ripen on the kitchen counter. And on the occasions where I buy ones that look ripe, they're rotten by the time I cut into them. My mother-in-law doesn't seem to have this problem, ever. She makes this delicious salad with mango and strawberries..and the mangos she uses are always perfectly ripe. How. I don't know.
Anyhoo, my favorite way to eat these is to let them defrost just a little so that they're not entirely solid but have this soft but firm bite to them, like a sorbet with resistance. SO GOOD on a hot day. Or on a day that I just crave mango. I love the consistency of the product - in that each bag has delivered the same product, same taste, same texture. They aren't waterlogged. Most of the nuggets are decently sweet, although you will get the occasional chunk that is paler in color, more tart, and more on the crunchy side. It happens. *shrug*
On the left are the carabao, which are smaller and a bit more orange colored. They definitely have a more distinctive aroma. I'm not sure how to describe it, except that the only other place I've smelled it is from a bag of Philippine Dried Mangos. They're quite sweet, particularly when fully defrosted compared to the regular mango chunks. Other than that, after finishing the entire bag, I still struggle to adequately nail down the taste. They have a fleshy aftertaste and a certain depth that I've never found in the normal mango chunks and the pre-cut mango spears in the prepared produce section.
In the meantime, y'all should know that this carabao variety also comes in dried form with no added sugar in tinier bag at the same price. I might be willing to repurchase the frozen carabaos just because of the price to quantity ratio, but I think I'll be sticking to the regular mango chunks until I get my hands on an actual carabao mango. Perhaps then I'll acquire a broader vocabulary to describe this.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Supersweet Filipino Carabao Mango Chunks. Now I want to try the real thing. 6 out of 10.
TL;DR: Trader Joe's Mango Chunks. Consistent mango bang for your buck. Freezer staple y'all. 8 out of 10.