May 2009

Chuối Chiên – Deep-Fried Bananas

I was reminded of my street grubbin’ days in Vietnam this past weekend when Grandma and I ventured to Vien Dong Supermarket in San Diego. Just like in Saigon, the cement pathway leading from the parking lot to the market was lined with pajama-clad vendors hawking their various wares.

One lady was selling bootleg Pringles from the trunk of her minivan, while another was selling herbs that most likely came from her garden. There was even one woman peddling Người Việt newspapers.

With similarly keen sweet tooths, Grandma and I were tempted by the woman offering chuối chiên (deep-fried bananas) and nước mía (sugarcane juice). Grandma purchased two bananas for a buck; we’d return another day for the sugarcane juice.

Made with ripened finger bananas that are battered and fried in hot oil, chuối chiên is something like a molten banana-filled doughnut. The best part of chuối chiên is the contrast in textures and flavors between the crisp, caramelized dough and the sweet banana mush.

Street food is soul food.

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6 thoughts on “Chuối Chiên – Deep-Fried Bananas

  1. Wow! That looks terrific. I think I might have chosen the sugar cane juice, because I’ve never been able to recapture the pleasures of chewing on cane when I was a kid. It’s all starchy when you get it now. Wah. Anyway – what fun for you!

  2. Just so you know, Vien Dong is now Thuan Phat. The previous owner sold it to his half-brother. The previous owner was a bit of a prick, I used to be his gardener.

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