Tropical Condoms

Tropical Condoms

I do love a good look round the shops whenever we are on our travels. Not for the silly souvenirs aimed at passing tourists, but to see what the locals are buying and eating. As daughters #1 and #2 could tell you, parcels from the latest Julietours are more likely to contain bizarre snacks and beauty products than knickknacks for their shelves.

These condoms, for example, really made me laugh.

The Fiesta brand is actually based in the USA, but these banana and durian flavoured condoms are made for the Asian market and surely deserve full marks for entertainment value. I found them in Indonesia, and am still waiting for my testers to stop giggling and give me a sensible product review.

The pineapple and goya condoms turned up in Okinawa, where both these items are grown locally. There’s no flavour involved here, but instead the construction echoes the skin of the fruit or vegetable. The pineapple version, for example, has tiny bumps, whilst the goya is ribbed very like the actual vegetable, which is a speciality of these southernmost Japanese islands.

It’s a clever notion, and the packaging is funny, too. I wish I’d bought more!

Banana Ketchup

banana 1 banana 2

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…

Piss Bolls (and Nockers)

Category : Food

pisbol 1 pisbol 2 nockers

These made me laugh so much that I had to buy them, from a convenience store in a Jakarta suburb. I should explain at the outset that pisang means banana over there, and that most local shoppers would see nothing funny in the contraction that makes the name. In my defence, I was out to cheer myself up after checking in to a horrible hotel on a trip planned less than 24 hours ahead, which is why my basket also contained a chocolate bar called Nockers.

It would be nice to tell you that Piss Bolls are delicious, and distracted me from the wildlife in the bathroom, but sadly I cannot. I am not quite sure what I was expecting, but something tasting of banana might have been nice. Instead, these were crunchy, hollow, and had a flavour more like a greasy ice cream cone. But I am sure the ants enjoyed them.

The Nockers bar was equally tasteless, although it looked so much like it might have been a local Snickers Bar that I had my hopes up. I am sure I deserved my disappointment, as punishment for making fun …