Going Bananas

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No, I'm not going crazy but I would like to talk about BANANAS -- that luscious tropical fruit that many foreigners crave to savor.  

I like to cook and eat banana chips. Delicious but quite hard to prepare. You need to peel raw bananas and mind you, they are a very sticky and tedious work if you do it manually!

Whenever I prepare unripe bananas for cooking, I always make it a point to apply a few drops of cooking oil on my hands and wipe the knife blade with oil as well. The oil will prevent the banana sap from sticking on my hands and on the knife.


We have lots of banana trees that were felled by the recent strong typhoon that directly hit our province. I can make tons of banana chips if I start making them now. LOL!


Here in my hometown in Bicol, we have several varieties of bananas -- "kalibo", "latundan", "pinipita", "bot-ohan" (Butuan), "prinsipe" (Red banana), "rakadag" (Señorita banana), "maryanas", "tindok", "tudok", "sab-a", "bunguran", and many more.

The most common variety is the "kalibo" or Cardava (cardaba or saba in Tagalog). There are different recipes we can make out of ripe or unripe "kalibo" bananas.

Aside from banana chips, unripe "kalibo" can be cooked peeled, cut and crispy fried, sized just like regular french fries. It is deeped in flour or in grounded rice with sugar before frying. We call it "kalingking" or "kinalingking".

Or, you can grate the unripe bananas and make them into little round balls and cook in coconut milk with sugar. That would serve as an excellent snack. We call it "hulog-hulog".

Unripe bananas can likewise be made into a native Bicol delicacy we call "linusak" (nilupak in Tagalog). After boiling the bananas, peel them and grind them in a wooden pestle and mortar. Mix it with grated coconut and sugar. Its ready to serve.


There is another Bicol delicacy that use unripe (manibalang) "kalibo" or "saba" bananas. We call it "pinakro". They are sliced horizontally in four pieces and cooked with coconut milk with sugar. Very delicious! 


Other common recipes for ripe "kalibo" or "saba" on the other hand, are what we call here BANANA-Q, TURON and MARUYA. Watch recipe videos above.

Though yummy, "turon" or Sweet Banana Spring Roll is the least of my favorites. I don't like the crispy deep fried and sweetened wrapper when eating it. It leaves a crumby mess whenever I take a bite. Quite messy for me. However, I like to eat banana-Q or banana cue. These are usually three pieces of deep fried and sweetened (brown sugar) ripe bananas that are inserted on a thin bamboo stick.

I find "maruya" or banana fritters easier to prepare. Just peel the ripe bananas, slice them horizontally, deep them in flour (mixed with a liberal amount of water, with or without sugar and egg is fine) and fry.

Others cook "maruya" similar to making hot cakes. They grate ripe bananas mixed with flour and a bit of water or fresh or evaporated milk, egg, and fry. Or, steam it to make a cup cake.

If you don't have all the time to cook, go buy a bunch of ripe "kalibo" or "saba" bananas and simply boil them. Let it cool a bit and serve with grated coconut. Very filling! People who want to gain more weight prior a medical exam for employment choose to eat two to three boiled bananas.  

If you got a bit of time, slice the "saba" bananas in half horizontally. Add cooking oil in the pan and simply fry the bananas.

Bananas also serve as a mouth watering dessert. You can add ice cream and/or chocolate syrup on it. We call it Banana Split. Watch recipe videos above.

Or, add bananas to a native Filipino Summer Dessert called "halo-halo". It's a mixture of several bits of native fruits placed in a tall glass with milk, sugar and crushed ice. Then mix the contents thoroughly with a spoon until the ice melts and sets in. Watch the videos on how to make Halo-Halo Dessert above.


Another great banana treat is banana shake (smoothie). I guess everybody is familiar with fruit shakes.

While yummy, banana splits and shakes are not my favorites. There is nothing yummier than eating ripe bananas, freshly picked from our trees. They are full of natural vitamins and minerals. Just what doctors recommend. Right? 

Bananas are also a good ingredient for cooking native dishes such as "pochero" or Stew. It makes the dish taste more delectable. 

Here are more Banana Recipes on youtube:

Sweet Banana Dessert (Saba con Yelo or Minatamis na Saging) 

Meatballs with Bananas, etc.


Pork Pochero

Beef Pochero

Chicken Pochero


Chicken Curry with Bananas, etc.

Mind you these native banana recipes are filling, mouth watering and so delicious. You would want for more!

We also have the export variety from Davao called "bungulan" (Lakatan in Tagalog or Cavendish bananas in English). They are widely exported to Japan, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Korea, Singapore, the Middle East, Canada, Russia and Indonesia. The Philippines is the second largest exporter in the world next to India. We export 9 million metric tons of bananas annually. That's roughly USD1 billion in export earnings. Watch the video above.


Of all our banana varieties, "Latundan" is my favorite. However, over eating "latundan" can cause severe constipation. I can say that through experience. Why? I got tempted and devoured a bunch of "latundan" bananas just in one sitting. Believe you me, I will never do that again! LOL!

Bananas are truly nutritious! If the Americans have apples, we do have bananas. "Two bananas a day keeps the doctor away". The banana is a high calorie fruit. Because of its sucrose or sugar content, a good serving of bananas instantly replenishes energy and revitalizes the body. They are good for athletes and underweight kids. It has dietary fiber that ensures normal bowel movements.

Bananas are known to be potassium rich. Meaning, bananas help control our blood pressure. It is also a good treatment for coronary artery disease and strokes. So, go get your fresh and ready to eat ripe bananas!

Like other fruits, you can eat bananas on an empty stomach. But mind you, not all bananas though. There is this local variety we call "bunguran". These are the green bananas similar to our export variety of Mindanao (cavendish). They remain green even when ripe. Eating "bunguran" on an empty stomach specially early in the morning can cause a tummy ache. I guess it's because of its far richer magnesium content causing an inbalance between magnesium and calcium in our blood. Eating too much bananas of any variety may also cause constipation, as previously mentioned. Greedy me! That taught me a good lesson. LOL!

By the way, I forgot to mention the tasty banana cake. They are easy to make. Watch the following video recipes.