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  • Two friends traveled to Pilsen from Chicago’s north side to satisfy their cravings for a "mangolada," a Mexico-inspired treat popular among the city's Latino residents.

    "They sell them in other places around the city, but they don’t taste the same," said Remedios Tello, a Chicago resident for 25 years.

    At about noon, after running errands in Evanston, Tello and Erika Arizmendi headed to La Michoacana ice cream shop on 18th Street in Pilsen to enjoy one of their favorite desserts, a mangolada paired with a “tamarroca.”

    The mangolada is made up of mango ice cream, mango pieces, lime, chili powder, pepper, salt, sugar, vinegar, water and a Mexican sauce that is spicy and sour, also known as “chamoy.”

    Although these desserts are sold elsewhere in Chicago, these ladies prefer this shop to others. Pilsen, on Chicago's west side, is predominantly Latino.

    Out of every 10 customers, seven order the mangolada, said Erica Gonzalez, an employee at La Michoacana, emphasizing that all of the ingredients are natural.

    "I worked in Mexico making tamarrocas so I know how they should taste and be made ," Tello said.

    The Mangolada includes a “tamarroca,” which is tamarind fruit, sugar, salt and chili powder squished together as a ball or on a straw.

    At The Tarrascas, an ice cream shop also in Pilsen, the customers usually ask for more chili powder on their mangolada. Because of that both employees there let the customers add the chili powder until they’re satisfied with their dessert.

    In contrast to La Michoacana, Las Tarrascas sells the mangolada in popsicle form, rather then in a cup. In both places, the price of the treat ranges from $4.25 to $6 depending on the size.

    So how did the treat come to be?

    "Someone had chopped mangos left over and mixed it in with ice cream," Arizmendi said laughing.
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