Back in the Day: Aug. 8, 1955


POSTED: Sunday, August 09, 2009

”;Back in the Day,”; appearing every Sunday, takes a look at articles that ran on this date in history in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Hawaii's oldest continuously published daily newspaper. The items appear verbatim, so don't blame us today for yesteryear's bad grammar.

Ace mango salesman in business 30 years

One hundred mangoes for 25 cents!

Whoa! Don't rush folks. That was 30 years ago in Honolulu.

This tidbit of mango history was given by Tong Chew, who with his cart of mangoes is a familiar sight at the corner of Fort and King Sts.

Almost any morning in the week Mr. Tong and his mango cart may be seen at the corner in front of the McInerny shoe store.

If you've ever snitched mangoes from a neighbor's yard or have indulged in a really delicious mango, you'll know the urge which makes you slow down decidedly as you round the corner of Fort and King Sts., or are tripping gaily down Fort and spy his mangoes.

Thirty years ago Mr. Tong was in the wholesale mango business.

“;There were only four or five kinds of mangoes here then,”; he said. “;Now there are at least 50 varieties.”;

The 25 cent price per 100 mangoes was for the common variety, he explained. The chutney or Chinese mangoes sold for 75 cents a 100. Now they sell for $3 a hundred.

As for the beautiful perie mangoes which Mr. Tong now deals mostly in, they sell for 10 to 15 cents cash which would make them worth $15 a 100.

“;The perie mango, I would say, is the best eating mango,”; according to Mr. Tong. “;And of the perie, the sweetest and best is the white perie. The white perie is very scarce.”;

Mr. Tong was also high in his praise of the Hayden mango which was imported from Florida recently.

“;This kind of mango is beautiful,”; he pointed out. “;The fruit will hang for several days on the tree when it's ripe, red and richly yellow. Fruit flies don't seem to bother them.”;