The question on every Filipino’s lips: Ginanggang or Banana-Q?

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…

Street food is a big business in the Philippines
Street food is a big business in the Philippines

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).

Preparing the bananas
Banana-Q! Yum!
Banana-Q! Yum!

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).

Buying some Ginanggang from a street vendor

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?

4 thoughts on “The question on every Filipino’s lips: Ginanggang or Banana-Q?

  1. Banana-q for the win, the more brown sugar on it, the better 😉 and ginanggang looks dry to me LOL. By the way the other pic is not a banana-q but a camote-q (sweet potato). Were you able to try “turon” or banana fritters (banana wrapped in lumpia wrappers)?


  2. These look delicious! We have banana and pineapple fritters here which are then dusted with cinnamon and sugar, the Banana Q look like they might have a similar thing going on.

    This post would make a great addition to Our Growing Edge, a monthly blog link up just for new food adventures. It’s a fun way to share your new food experiences with other foodies. This month’s theme is TRAVEL which includes any recipe or food experience inspired by travel or another place.

    More info including how to submit your link here:


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