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Mango Chicken: A Vagabond Delicacy

I never thought that I would be making mango chicken in my hotel rooms and apartments with my own cooking gear. This meal had the ring to it of grub that the bourgeois backpacker sect eat in trendy tourist restaurants. Mango chicken sounded a lot like banana pancakes to me — something a vagabond would only eat in seclusion with a flushed face of embarrassment. But just because a meal sounds fancy does not mean that it is beyond inclusion in this Vagabond Cookbook. Mango chicken is actually cheap and easy to make — not to mention absolutely delicious — in countries where both chicken and mangoes are sold cheap (i.e. the tropics).

Just because I’m a self-catering traveler does not mean that I’m subsisting off of dirt and day old tortillas alone: there are some delicacies in my cooking repertoire which can be made in a hostel kitchen, a hotel room, or in camp.

How to make mango chicken

Mango chicken


  • Chicken
  • Rice
  • Mangoes
  • Orange juice
  • Vegetables (carrots, broccoli, or your preference based on local availability)
  • Onions
  • Cilantro
  • Cumin
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Hot sauce
  • Oil
  • Limes
  • Berries (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)


  • Pot
  • Pan
  • 2 bowls
  • Stove or heat source (any type)
  • Silverware

Cooking directions

  1. Chop up vegetables, onions, chicken, and mangoes and keep them in their respective piles.
  2. Prepare salsa by pouring orange juice and squeezing some fresh limes into a bowl then adding cumin, salt, a little hot sauce, and any excess mango juice you can extract from chopping them. Around 8 to 12 ounces is all that’s needed.
  3. Divide the salsa into two bowls, one containing  1/3 the total amount and the other bowl having 2/3.
  4. Put the chopped chicken pieces into the bowl containing 1/3 of the salsa and allow to soak for one hour.
  5. After the chicken has soaked for around 45 minutes begin making rice.
  6. Once the chicken has finished soaking put oil in a bowl and bring to a simmer on the stove. Add the contents of the chicken bowl to the pan and cook.
  7. Add vegetables, mangoes, onions, cilantro, berries etc . . . to the bowl that contains 2/3 of the salsa. Stir.
  8. When the rice and chicken has finished cooking put them on plates and pour the mango/ lime/ onion salsa over top. If you would like, sour cream can also be added on the side. The meal is now ready to serve.


The price of this meal depends on how crazy you want to get with the ingredients — lots of inessentials can be added to spice it up. Also, whether or not you choose chicken legs with bones in them (cheapest) or boneless breasts (a little more expensive) will also have an impact on the cost. If you are in regions of the world where chicken and mangoes are sold cheap, use chicken leg meat, and basic ingredients you can make this meal to feed 2 – 4 people for roughly US$5. If you’re cooking solo expect to drop around US$3. Keep in mind that part of the philosophy of the Vagabond Cookbook is to buy a stock of ingredients and then use them for multiple meals, which keeps the per meal cost low.

Mango chicken conclusion

This is truly one of the best meals of the vagabond cookbook and stands as a testament to the fact that just because you’re traveling and broke doesn’t mean you need to eat bad food. Mango chicken also shows that you can make great meals with limited means while cooking for yourself on the road.

Enjoy your mango chicken. We do.

The Vagabond Cookbook is a series on Vagabondjourney.com which aims to share simple, easy to prepare recipes for good, wholesome, cheap meals on the road. All recipes are subject to local availability of ingredients, though most are polymorphous and can be made almost anywhere in the world with only minor adaptions. If you have any recipes to add to the cookbook, please email them to the author.

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Filed under: Food

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3161 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Ulladulla, AustraliaMap