Mangda Na — The Discovery


Metaphorically speaking, mangda na is a Thai expression for shiftless suitors — the kind of guys who hang around a girl, looking for some action. The kind of guys who flit from girl to girl, getting what they can but making no commitments. The kind of guys who never have any money of their own, but also try to make the lady pay. The kind of useless guys who swarm around a pretty single girl.

And here is the meaning of the metaphor: Manga na are also insects, something like our water bugs, three or four inches long, with wings that really work. At night they swarm around the street lamps, and they pester people by flying into their faces.

But in Thailand, the bugs are also a popular food, with a flavor that has been described by one rhapsodic taster as “one of the most haunting flavors I know, with an intense floral fragrance that reminds me of gewurtztraminer.”

The reason I’m telling you this is that I stumbled on a package of frozen mangda na in a Thai grocery recently and scooped them up. I won’t tell you where I got them, because I’m not sure they’re strictly legal, but if you track my recent reviews, you can probably figure it out.

Four pack of mangda na, $3.50. The package includes the imprecation, “Cook before serving.”

Next: I get some friends together for a fried mangda na party


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