Iconic Thai Food: All About Mango Sticky Rice

Mango Sticky Rice: Thailand’s Sweet, Sticky Dessert

By now there is barely any topic about Thai food that we haven’t covered yet. From Bangkok’s street food scene to the origins of the legendary Pad Thai, we can safely assume that we have been pretty thorough thus far. Nevertheless, if there is one dish that has flown a little under our radar then it has to be the Mango Sticky Rice. You are well aware of the variety of savory curries, papaya salads, noodle and rice dishes, but desserts in Thailand don’t come close to having this same assortment. In all honesty, though, Mango Sticky Rice is so darn good that you probably won’t want anything else to appease your sweet tooth.

The White Sticky Stuff That Everyone Loves

A small portion of glutinous rice with sliced pieces of mango and sometimes a bit of coconut cream, roasted sesame seeds or mung beans – in other words, a perfect example of a simple yet delicious treat. Despite the term ‘glutinous’ this type of rice doesn’t refer to gluten, but to its state as in ‘glue’ or ‘gluey’. The rice comes from Southeast and South Asian countries like Thailand and India. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t actually contain any gluten, so for you health nuts out there – it’s perfect! Although, with all the sugary stuff that comes with it, you might want to indulge in it in moderation. It does pack a lot of calories.

But now to the dish itself! The first step is to soak the rice in water and to cover it up overnight. The next morning it is then boiled with enough sugar and coconut milk to cause a sweetness explosion in your mouth. After that is done, all that is left to do is to slice the mango, arrange everything on a plate and et voilà! Bon appétit.

Want to earn some brownie points from your local street food vendor? Then order your sweet treat by saying “khao niao mamuang”.

It is not only a popular dish in Thailand. Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam serve it as well. So, once you fall in love with this dessert, you can make it your mission to find the best one in South East Asia!

Mango sticky rice is a Thai delicacy enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

Mango Sticky Rice Fun Fact

It’s time for a little “useless knowledge”! We all know that rice and Thailand, or most of Asia in general, belong together like Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray in ‘Dirty Dancing’. It has been a staple in their nutrition since ancient times and it continues to be that way.

And what is still widely accepted as a form of greeting is the phrase “Kin khao reu yang?”. This means “Have you eaten yet?”. But the literal translation says “Have you eaten rice yet?”. The word ‘rice’ being ‘khao’. So, the importance of rice in Thailand goes so far that the word itself is part of a greeting. This is a vital piece of information I just gave you there… I think….?

Sweet Mango O’ Mine

Eating a mango is like having sex; it has to be dirty to be good”. Whether you agree with veteran actor Terence Stamp or not, but we always appreciate a nice sex reference. On a different note, though, mangoes are one of the most beloved fruits on this planet and rightfully so. This stone fruit has such a pleasant tropical smell and its sweet, pulpy flesh is used in many different variations. You can certainly eat them raw, but the ingenuity of some clever folks created dishes like Mango Sticky Rice or sauces such as Mango Salsa or Chutney. The latter is particularly popular in England. Ask any English person about their favorite kind of chutney. Chances are high that this will be the one. And, of course, we don’t want to exclude the refreshing taste of a Mango Smoothie.

Pop Quiz: How many different types of mangoes exist?

Probably more than you can imagine. In India, the country of origin, there are around 283 and in Florida even 400! The reason for this huge variety in Southern Florida is because of its year-round temperate climate. This is the perfect prerequisite for the cultivation of mangoes. Despite this large selection, the undisputed king of mangoes in India is the Alphonso. On an interesting side note, this particular kind was actually brought by the Portuguese in the 15th century. The Alphonso is a fairly recent addition to the roster if you consider that mangoes have grown in India for over 5000 years.

In Thailand, the Nam Doc Mai and Okrung mangoes are the most popular and used for the Sticky Rice dish. The peak season is between the months of April and June, so right now would be a great time to get your mango fix.

Mango Sticky Rice Wrap up

Let’s end this episode of “Food Porn by Slumber Party” with a story or legend about the Buddha. It is being told that he used the shade of a mango tree to meditate. I honestly bet that even he couldn’t have stayed focused on his meditations if someone put a plate of Mango Sticky Rice in front of him. You don’t have to be enlightened to be delighted. Ok, I will stop now.


As always, tell us stories about your sticky experiences with this tasty treat. Which one was your favorite and have you ever tried making it yourself? Let us know in the comment section!


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