7 Of LA's Best Mangonadas
Behold the mangonada. This magnificent Mexican concoction takes the humble mango and spins the dial to 11, transforming its healthy, juicy goodness into an icy, spicy, sweet and sour flavor bomb.
Although the mangonada goes by different names -- chamoyada, diablito, vampiro, chamango -- and has many variations, its core elements remain the same. It always involves something frozen (usually shaved ice or mango sorbet), chamoy (the popular Mexican sauce made from a blend of pickled fruits), chilies and lime juice. These ingredients are layered then topped with spicy tamarind candies, chunks of fresh mango and a dusting of life-giving Tajín.
The result? Every bite hits you with the fruitiness of mango, the tartness of lime, the heat of chamoy and the chewiness of tamarind candy.
This small mom and pop shop transports you to your abuelita and abuelito's kitchen, complete with bright, printed tablecloths and colorful walls. Co-owner Maria Morquecho says she relies on traditional recipes from the villages and tiny ranches of Colima and Nayarit. Instead of mango sorbet, she uses shaved ice infused with mango, giving her mangonadas a refreshing twist and highlighting the sweet mango.
3426 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights
Fruteria Huerta doubles (or would that be triples?) as a market, a juice shop and a dessert hub, selling raspados (shaved ice), bionicos (fruit salad), smoothies and freshly cut fruit. Whatever your ailment -- weight gain, ulcers, stress, exhaustion -- they have a libation that claims to help. They make one of the spicier mangonadas around, topped with an extra dose of Tajin. Don't expect to linger because this small market has nowhere to sit.
1705 W. Valley Blvd., Alhambra.
La Michoacana Ice Cream Parlor
La Michoacana is like Baskin-Robbins for the Latino palate. This quintessential East L.A. ice cream parlor offers a wealth of snacks including Hot Cheetos with nacho cheese, strawberries with cream, chicharrones and nachos. You can customize the flavor of their acclaimed mangonada by choosing from lemon, tamarind, strawberry or soursop sorbet. The rest of the mangonada sticks to the classic recipe with the exception of tiny tamarind candies added throughout the icy mixture.
4972 E. Whittier Blvd, East L.A.
Chili Chili Mango
Mangonada on wheels? The Chili Chili Mango truck, available for bookings throughout Los Angeles, offers a devilish take on the mangonada, adding fresh chili peppers to mimic Lucifer's horns. They use vegan mango sorbet, a secret blend of spices, chamoy, lime and a ginormous tamarind candy for good measure. This popular party truck also serves novelty ice cream bars and gourmet fruit pops so you can please guests with a wide range of treats. Fans include Fran Drescher and Vanilla Ice.
Touting its fusion of Asian and Hispanic flavors, the Zero Degrees chain is known for its Flamin' Hot Cheeto elote and split cups of tea in flavors like strawberry blitz, pink guava, lychee crush and green tea. Since launching in 2013, the company has expanded to several SoCal locations and has franchises in five other states. Their signature mangonada is made with mango puree with ice, chamoy, Tajín, mango chunks and an optional topping of mango slices.
9822 Bolsa Ave., Westminster.
2323 E Chapman Ave., Fullerton.
214 S. State College Blvd, Anaheim.
1889 University Ave., Riverside.
3560 W Temple Ave., Pomona.
24950 Redlands Blvd, Loma Linda.
Started in 1992 in the back of a truck, Garcia's Fruits has, for the last eight years, been serving customers from an El Monte strip. They offer a mangoneada, which is a mango paleta doused in chamoy. If you want a classic mangonada, order their chamango, a cup of frothy mango sorbet with chamoy and the tiniest bits of mango spritzed with lime. You can sub out the mango sorbet with another flavor such as strawberry, pineapple, orange or tangerine.The contrast between the savory chamoy, the tart citrus and the sweet mango sorbet is heavenly.
9661 Garvey Ave., #103, El Monte.
Xtra Bionicos Allexis
If you're a student at USC and you haven't been to Xtra Bionicos Allexis, have you even lived? Located a mile west of the university, the Mexican eatery offers antojitos (street food) like esquite (Mexican street corn) and tostilocos, a mound of tortilla chips piled with jicama, cucumber, diced tomatoes, Japanese peanuts and lime. They offer three mangonada variations including a frozen version (the mangoneada congelada), a mango slush and the chamango. If you stan the spice, they offer the diablito raspado which is made with tamarind and offers spice levels from no spice and mild all the way up to hotter than H-E double hockey sticks.
1552 W. Adams Blvd., University Park.