d o c t o r a n d m a m a

Linda Shiue

Linda Shiue
San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA
December 31
I am a physician and spend my free time with my husband and kids, reading everything in sight, eating, traveling, and cooking meals inspired by my travels. These days I'm spending more time at my food blog, spiceboxtravels.com. Please visit me there and follow me on Twitter @spiceboxtravels. Disclaimer: Health information presented here is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. © 2010-12 Linda Shiue. All Rights Reserved.

Linda Shiue's Links

Editor’s Pick
MAY 17, 2011 8:01AM

Mango Season in Hilo: A Photo Essay with Dessert

Rate: 18 Flag

mangoes by Linda Shiue
On the US mainland, we may not think of mangoes as having a season, but for those who live in the tropics around the world, mango season is something to mark on the calendar, not to be missed.  There is no fruit as seductively luscious and velvety as a ripe mango, which bears no similarity to the stringy, astringent store-ripened varieties available in most US supermarkets year-round.
I lucked out and caught the beginning of mango season on a recent trip to Hawaii's Big Island.  While others headed for the beach, I made a trek from our hotel on the sunnier Kohala coast to visit Hilo's farmers market.  The beach could wait, but I couldn't miss the weekly market.  
Hilo Farmers Market by Linda Shiue
The two hour drive (each way) was well worth it.  Driving on the Big Island affords vistas you can't find anywhere else.  It's a mini-continent, with the terrain changing every ten minutes you drive.  Hilo is on the foggy, misty, Eastern side of the island, close to Volcanoes National Park.  It is home to the University of Hawaii at Hilo,  the Merrie Monarch Festival of hula, and the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation.  Hilo's climate is that of a tropical rainforest, which means it rains most days of the year.  It's reportedly the wettest city in the United States and one of the wettest cities in the world.
All that rain makes for excellent growing conditions.  The market was a bounty of Hawaii's spring crops-- mangoes, papayas, bananas, ginger, and warabi  (Hawaiian fiddlehead ferns).  Flowers which are exotic and expensive on the mainland were in wild abundance at the market-- orchids, anthuriums, and bromeliads.  There was also a selection of only-in-Hawaii prepared foods, which included poi, the fermented taro paste, and musubi, the sushi-like snack often topped with Spam.  The musubi at the market was offered in an impressive variety of toppings beyond Spam, including hot dogs and a California roll-inspired version topped with imitation crab and avocado.  
For dessert, I sampled for the first time a beloved Hawaiian-Japanese confection known locally as mochi.  You may be familiar with the similarly named Japanese sweet of sticky rice balls, sometimes filled with sweet red bean paste.  In Hawaii, sweet rice flour has found its way into many other recipes, including a cake-like temptation called butter mochi.   
Take a stroll with me through Hilo's Farmers Market.  Besides the chance to check out what is in season, a visit to the farmers market was a great opportunity to mingle with the locals and enjoy impromptu performances of ukelele and slack key guitar.  And there's dessert at the end. 
by Linda Shiue
by Linda Shiue
by Linda Shiue
warabi fiddleheads by Linda Shiue
daikon by Linda Shiue
ginger root by Linda Shiue
Hawaiian papaya by Linda Shiue
by Linda Shiue
musubi at Hilo Farmers Market by Linda Shiue
by Linda Shiue
anthurium by Linda Shiue
by Linda Shiue
*     *     *
Hawaiian Mango-Coconut Mochi Cake
mango mochi by Linda Shiue
In honor of the too-short mango season, I have made a coconut milk enriched version of mochi topped with mango.  It will remind you of the Thai dessert of mango and sticky rice, or perhaps of a fruity blondie. Back home in California, I am taking advantage of the Mexican mango season right now, which allowed me to purchase heavenly sweet red mangoes for 33 cents each at my local supermarket.   
Note: store cake at room temperature.  
1 pound box mochiko (sweet rice flour)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 12 oz can coconut milk
1 very ripe mango, sliced, juices reserved
1.  Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
2.  Add all other ingredients except for mango and whisk until well combined.
3.  Pour batter into a greased rectangular baking pan.
4.  Place mango slices on top, then drizzle over any remaining mango juice.  If desired, use a knife to swirl batter slightly to created a marbled effect.
5.  Bake in a pregeated 350 oven for an hour, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6.  Let cool in pan, then slice into squares.
Serves 20.
by Linda Shiue
© 2011 Linda Shiue, with Aloha 

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Oh my this is a tasty post. Look at all the asian goodies here...Mmmmm
Thanks so much for this and more.
Every year I have lived in Central America and now Mex, mango season seems to peak precisely during Semana Santa, no matter when Semana Santa happens to be. But I think we've begun the decline--the mangos we've had lately have been more sweet than fragrant. I'd love to try your cake--wish there was mochiko around here (I suppose horchata mix wouldn't sub...).
I've never had butter mochi, but that mango coconut mochi-cake looks fabulous. Anything with rice-flour is delectable. The farmer's market in Hilo looks so lush! I'd love to go back there some day, but your post gives me a fix for now...
Gorgeous post! Your cake reminds me a bit of Vietnamese cakes--classic East Asian starches plus lots of butter. Mangos, of course, make almost anything better. Yum!
i'm pinching myself to see if i haven't died and gone to tropical fruit heaven. yummm, linda. the mochi cake recipe is going to my 'save' folder and i might actually have drooled over the photos. **five** papayas for a dollar? it's lovely to see things grown in hawaii sold at markets like these, especially after knowing how grim and sad and expensive the produce sections of the chain grocery stores are over there. beautiful post.
This trip with you through the market makes me want to cry it's all so gorgeous. You are such a beautiful storyteller, photographer and cook. ~r
I love traveling through your stories! The farmer's market looks fabulous & so does this cake recipe.
please please please return and give us a few words about "mangosteen, the queen of fruit" which at $10.00/lb must be true!!
Hi everyone, thanks for looking at my vacation photos:)

@greenheron, I couldn't get myself to buy the mangosteen. They're so expensive because they've only recently been grown in the US/Hawaii, and I guess must be hard to cultivate! I had some many years ago when I studied abroad in SE Asia, and I have to say, they are pretty fantastic . The purple shell is hard and has to be pried open-- has a similar texture to thick paperboard-- and the fruit is ivory colored and in segments like a clementine. The flavor is kind of creamy, kind of tart, just-sweet-enough, really unique-- but not worth $10/lb to me!
Mahalo, Linda! Wonderful pictures!
yum yum yum

I'm so jealous of people having access to such wonderful fruit. I buy Tommy Atkins mangoes at Rainbow Grocery and they are usually good. Other mangoes bought at 'fancier' stores are often brown inside and inedible. I'm drooling for the papayas!
Thanks for the delicious visuals & recipes.
OMG! I was just there in Hilo 2-3 weeks ago and briefly visited the market! Hilo IS very beautiful!

A lovely essay too!
beautiful luscious colors of the market, and then an awesome recipe on top of it.....goergeous post that made me hungry for mangos and for travel. thank you!
After reading your post, I think I am more interested in Hawaii for the mangoes than the beaches. I have had a string of disappointments in the mango domain since I came to the US.