GOING BANANAS

  • There are dozens of varieties of bananas cultivated in Indonesia.
  • To plant bananas, you don't use seeds. Take a shoot from one banana trunk cluster and transplant it. This begs the question: Which came first, the banana or the banana trunk?
  • A banana tree grows many trunks, each one producing only one bunch of bananas, after which it is chopped down.
  • You will find Pisang Goreng, localese for fried bananas, to be a ubiquitous favorite snack in Indonesia, but there’s more to it than just batter, bananas, and oil. Look for very ripe bananas, a simple batter of water, flour and salt, and a slow simmering in oil. The sugars ooze out and caramelize over the crisp crust for an irresistible snack.
  • Sliced and stewed with spices, the banana tree trunk makes a popular, toothsome vegetable known as Jukut Ares. Peeled in concentric rings, the fiber transforms into a biodegradable candle shade. Whole, the trunk functions as a pegstand for a shadowmaster's resting puppets during a performance of the shadow puppet play know as Wayang Kulit. A salad of banana flowers lightly steamed and mixed with roasted duck, roasted chili paste and fresh coconut cream is one of the highlights of our Thai menu at Siam Sally. Click here to make a reservation.
  • There are dozens of uses for the giant banana leaf too. Look around Bali. You'll see them used as umbrellas, food wrappers, decoration . . . and even as bicycle mud guards!
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