Mango sticky rice is quintessentially Thai - simple, fresh and sweet. Made with a special type of rice, ripe mangoes and a coconut milk sauce, it's definitely worth saving room for dessert.
The plate of mango sticky rice at Very Siam (RMB28) is clearly made for sharing. The volcanic-shaped cluster of sticky rice (pictured above) is massive, as are the strips of mango on the side. The crushed peanuts meld particularly well with the generous pouring of silky smooth coconut milk, giving the dish a much-appreciated extra crunch. And we totally give props to any purported mango dish that doesn't skimp on the main ingredient, as all too many will.
The mango sticky rice (RMB35) at Bali Papaya is pure, oral bliss. The sticky rice comes out warm, soaked in a slightly colder bath of coconut milk. The mango slices practically float on top, and are the freshest we had in Beijing, very soft, juicy and sweet. This is the sort of dish you'd spoon absentmindedly into your mouth while staring off into space, hoping you won't run out of the sweet stuff anytime soon.
The mango sticky rice (RMB20) pictured on the menu looked green, but we didn't take it seriously until the dessert showed up on our table. The two spheres of sticky rice are indeed a very, very bright shade of green. The magic of Thai pandanus leaves gives this dish a vivid green color and infuses a very subtle hint of sweetness into the rice. Two pools of coconut milk sit on top of the rice humps to soften the dessert and the mango is a tangy sweetness all the way.
This Central Park cafe whips up quite a refreshing dish of mango sticky rice (RMB20) for a very reasonable price—which is surprising considering the location. The smattering of sesame seeds on top gives the coconut milk coating a slight nutty taste, but we admit to liking this dish solely for the bouncy, glutinous glory of sticky rice. It's tasty enough to eat alone, which is helpful as you might run out of mango halfway through.
A colorful take on the traditional Thai treat. Purple Haze's version of mango sticky rice (RMB35) includes a black and white cluster of sticky rice to keep things interesting, but we weren't so enthralled with the clumpy texture of the coconut milk topping. That said, the juicy mango strips are finely chopped here, so you won't have any trouble spearing mango, rice and coconut sauce all in one go.
Sukhothai should really put a warning label on the menu—contents may differ from picture. The original photo was all large, juicy mango slices and generous handfuls of crushed peanuts. What we ended up getting was a mushy pile of rice with a smell faintly reminiscent of suntan lotion. The miniscule cubes of mango, however, were actually quite tasty, but we're still fuming over the switcheroo. Because seriously, would you have spent RMB28 for the above?