Aside from Kwek-Kwek and Isaw, banana fritters are probably the most sought after street food in the whole of the Philippines – and there are two types of banana snacks that Filipinos struggle to choose one over the other…
As a tourist in the Philippines, it was almost impossible for me to not enjoy the wide variety of street food on offer, especially in Manila. Even in Boracay, I enjoyed great snacks beside the ocean, in what could be called “beach food” rather than “street food”! However, when you look at what local Filipinos like to eat as snacks, you will find that there are a few foods that top the list: kwek-kwek (quail eggs), isaw (pigs’ intestines), and banana fritters, of which there are quite a few varieties. I had heard of Ginanggang and was eager to try it, yet when I was in Manila I also discovered another similar banana snack, known as Banana-Q (or Banana Cue).
Banana-Q is made with deep fried bananas that are coated in caramelised brown sugar. The bananas used for this recipe are Saba bananas, which are very common in the Philippines. Banana-Q is usually skewered on a bamboo stick, and sold on the streets to happy locals and tourists all day long. The caramelised brown sugar is what makes this snack stand out from the rest – its sickly taste leaves you wanting more and more! The term “Banana-Q” is a portmanteau of “banana” and “BBQ” (which in Philippine English refers to meat cooked in a style similar to kebabs).
Ginanggang is a snack food of grilled bananas that have been brushed with margarine and sprinkled with sugar. It originates from the island of Mindanao in the Philippines and literally means “grilled” in Cebuano. Ginanggang, like Banana-Q, is made from a type of banana in the Philippines called Saba. The banana is peeled, skewered, and then grilled over charcoals, usually on the roadside where hungry patrons watch on with rumbling bellies. When the outer surface of the banana is lightly charred, it is then taken off the grill, brushed with margarine, and sprinkled with sugar. It differs from Banana-Q in that the banana is actually grilled on the skewer, whereas Banana-Q is cooked without the skewer, which is added afterwards for serving purposes only.
It may be hard to pick just one of these fruity Filipino fritters, but I wonder if the locals and tourists would agree on their choices?