Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mango Fest At Fairchild Gardens, Miami, Fla: Mexican Themed

Miami, Fla.—There’s no place like Fairchild Topical Botanic Garden’s Mango Festival. There are cooking demos, fruit tastings, tree sales, lectures on mangoes, and food, lots of food made with mangoes and even some alcohol made with mangoes. This 85-acre garden in Central Miami-Dade County has been hosting this event for 14 years. This year’s theme was the mangoes of Mexico.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Mango Festival,
Miami, Fla.,
Intermittent monsoon like rain showers didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of mango foodies who flocked by the hundreds to this two-day event.

I went to see the cooking demonstrations and buy a dozen mangoes from the International Market for $2 each.
Pandan leaves and uncooked sticky rice at Khong
River House Thai cooking demo, Fairchild Tropical
Botanic Garden Mango Festival, Miami, Fla.
Khong River House was the first to put on a cooking demo featuring mango with sweet stick rice and coconut sauce. Chef Bee Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, or Chef Bee as he preferred to be called, gave tips on how to cook Meekong River style Thai food. “You can use pandan leaf as a temperature reader of oil. Tie it into a knot, throw it in the oil, and when it gets crisp the oil is ready.” 

Chef Bee at Khong River House cooking demo, Fairchild
Tropical Botanic Garden Mango Festival, Miami, Fla.
Half way through the demo an audience member asked, “What type of mango is that?” Chef Bee put down his knife, picked up a mango and said, “I don’t know. It’s a Mexican mango.”

The audience giggled as Chef Bee added, “In Thailand we have mango. We call it Thai mango.” The audience exploded into laughter.

The Khong River House sources ingredients from Homestead farmers and from the Chef’s backyard according to Bee.
Thai sticky rice with mango by Khong River House,
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Mango Fest,
Miami, Fla.
At the end of the demo everyone, including people standing on all sides, were given sample plates the mango  and sticky rice dish. The demo came with a printed recipe.
It was a delicious way to end my day at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's Mango Festival.
To find out about next year's Festival you can go to

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