Agri-Culture: Going Bananas

Laura McNamara

Green fruit hanging from a banana tree in VietnamBananas are a staple of Southeast Asia. In Thailand, small crepes stuffed with bananas, chocolate and condensed milk are popular treats and are often the staple for the average backpacker. Banana shakes are also a favorite. (Personally, I go for banana-coconut shakes.) The same goes for Cambodia as well as Vietnam. Although, neither of those countries offer “banana pancakes” that can rival those in Thailand. I’m in Laos now and I heard the “banana pancakes” here are just as good as those in Thailand. We’ll see…

The bananas here in Southeast Asia sometimes look funny, like midget bananas. I didn’t know they could come so small. You see bunches of dwarfed bananas that barely stretch beyond the length of your palm. They’re great snacks and you can usually get a huge bunch of them for about $2.

In Thailand, banana flower salad is an excellent local dish. Watch out though! It’s spicy!!

When I was on my 5-day motorcycle trek through the central highlands of Vietnam, my guide explained that the pulp from banana trees is used by villagers to feed their pigs. They chop up the trees, then grind the pulp and put it in a stew of sorts. The pigs love it.

Farming, Food, International