Wherever I travel, I always like to visit a supermarket, to see what the locals are buying and eating – somehow it makes me feel less of a tourist, and gives me an idea of what it might be like to live there rather than just pass through.
Obviously, I always end up buying a few interesting local ingredients, and this was something that came back with me from the Philippines.
Rumour has it that traditional, US-style, tomato ketchup was highly popular when it was introduced to the Philippines by the military stationed there. But during World War 2, authentic supplies were hard to come by, plus there was a distinct shortage of tomatoes. There were, however, plenty of bananas…
So, banana ketchup was born, and packed with all sorts of flavourings and colourings to turn it into something resembling the real thing. It isn’t pretending, this is clearly made with bananas and called ‘catsup’ rather than ‘ketchup’, but it is used for pretty much all the same things and is extremely popular all over the Philippines.
The main ingredient is mashed banana, but – like tomato ketchup – there is also a lot of sugar, vinegar and spices. And artificial additives.
It is safe to say that we did not really like it. The texture is watery, the taste is sweet, and the additives do nothing to make it smell appetising. It certainly does not taste like banana at all. Daughter #2 dipped boiled potatoes in it and pronounced it ‘not vile’, which is hardly a recommendation. Her Dad ruled it was ‘truly disgusting’, I found it too tasteless to bother persevering with.
Still, although it won’t be taking up room in the kitchen cupboard any longer, it was interesting to try…