J.R. Tolkien

"Not all those who wander are lost." - J.R. Tolkien

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Mangonada Y Más

I grew up in a tropical climate so exotic fruits such as mango, guava, tamarind, passion fruit, etc. are ingrained loves from an early age.  It is no wonder I naturally gravitate towards ethnic foods with tropical flavors.  On my recent foodie tour to find ceviche, I found other tropical goodies in Louisville that reminded me of home.  

Mangonada suprema & mangonada from La Tropicana Co. Photo: Mia
One drink in particular stands out as uniquely tropical, the Mangonada (also known as Chamango).  Mangonada is a popular Mexican drink made with fresh mangos, lime juice, ice, chamoy sauce, lime chili powder, and tamarind straw.  Think of it as a very tropical American slushy.  If your taste preference leans towards salty, sour and sweet, this is a great summer treat for you.  I can’t say I’m a big fan yet, but I do like the combination of tropical flavors, in small doses.

Here are three places in town where you can find them and other fun treats there.  Best news for the budget conscious foodies, these drinks are all less than $4!

La Tropicana Co./La Frutita 
5215 Preston Hwy
Louisville, KY 40213
(502) 964-5957
The mangonada here is more like an ice slushy, with bold salty and sweet flavors combined with large mango chunks.  I liked it but could not finish the cup, I suggest sharing with a friend or two on your first try to see if you’ll like it first. A friend recommended the mangonada suprema and I'll have to give this a try on my next visit. If mangonada is not your thing, there are a lot of other sweet treats and drinks, Mexican snacks, ice creams, fruit cocktails, etc. on the menu.  English is spoken at a minimal here, so use your finger and the photos on the wall as your guide.  Once you grab your dessert/drink, exit the store and take a left.  Here you’ll find fresh tacos to go with your drinks for around $2/each (I usually see this on the weekends).  Can’t get it any fresher!

Order at the counter.
Chicharron Preparado
Come outside for fresh tacos.
$2 Tacos! 
Panchito’s Ice Cream
8112 Preston Hwy, Ste 100
Louisville, KY 40219
(859) 621-5170

2245 Bardstown Rd
Louisville, Kentucky
(859) 621-5170

Panchito’s has two successful locations in Lexington and just two more locations in Louisville.  Small but clean and friendly, it’s the perfect place to drop by for some cool treats and snacks.  All the ice cream are made in house.  You can find traditional flavors like mango, strawberry, and lemon, but it’s more fun trying tropical choices like the guava (guayaba), nanche, mango with chili powder and the soursop (guanabana). I got the pina loca on my first visit, it’s a tropical monstrosity that includes lots of fruit chunks, chimoy sauce, chili powder topped with ice cream.  My advice, skip the pina loca and grab the guanabana ice cream. My favorite here are the paletas or popsicles, you can choose from a variety of tropical flavors, either water or cream base.

Homemade ice cream with lots of tropical flavors.
Toppings for various snacks and fruit cocktails.
La pina loca.
Friendly owner making us food!
Antojitos Byanca Cravings
6004 Pleasant Colony Ct
Crestwood, KY 40014
(859) 447-5196
A little bit further of a drive but it’s my favorite find because everything here is delicious!  This fast food stand has outside seating and offer favorites like burritos, tacos, gorditas, quesadillas, and ceviches (read about it on my previous post).  Choose from a variety of tropical batidos (shakes), aqua frescas (flavored water), and mangonada.  The esquite is my favorite here, it’s elote in a cup (corn, mayonnaise, cotija cheese, lime juice and chili powder). I enjoyed the mangonada here a lot better and my husband and our friend loved the fresh batidos. They plan on having paletas (ice cream bars) in a month and I can't wait!

A lot of tropical flavors to choose from! Photo source
Mangonada and batidos
Enjoying those drinks!
Antojitos Byanca Cravings
I'm sure I'm still missing a lot, if you have a favorite place, I would love to hear it!