Unless you have travelled to or lived in the Philippines, you may have never heard of this fruit-based condiment.
Banana ketchup is a unique local Filipino food product, which isn’t widely produced elsewhere in the world.
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What is Banana Ketchup?
Banana ketchup is a banana-based alternative to tomato ketchup.
Although it is primarily manufactured and consumed in the Philippines, the product does have a loyal following throughout the world.
Despite being naturally of a brown-yellow color, it is often dyed red in order to make it resemble ketchup.
What is Banana Ketchup Made From?
Banana ketchup is typically made from bananas, sugar, vinegar, and spices.
Sometimes ingredients such as chili powder or ginger will be added as well, resulting in a more complex flavor profile.
How is Banana Ketchup Used?
Banana ketchup is used in a similar fashion as regular ketchup.
It would be considered normal to use banana ketchup on hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, vegetables, eggs, or even heartier meats like fish or grilled chicken and pork.
What Does Banana Ketchup Taste Like?
It may come as a surprise, but many people consider banana ketchup to taste similar to normal ketchup, although it is usually a bit sweeter and with a slight tang.
Of course, different brands will taste different and some versions of banana ketchup certainly do taste like bananas, but most formulations use a similar spice profile as tomato-based ketchup, which results in a similar flavor.
If you are unable to find a bottle of banana ketchup for sale locally, you could always make your own.
I’ve been told that this recipe is pretty decent and even has a spicy element to it.
Who Invented Banana Ketchup?
The invention of banana ketchup is credited to Maria Y. Orosa (1892-1945), who was a Filipino food technologist, activist, and war hero, with many food-based inventions and recipes tied to her name.
She also authored the book “Maria Orosa: Her Life and Work”, which includes over 700 of Maria Orosa’s recipes, although finding an English copy of this book can be difficult.
Banana ketchup was originally intended to be an alternative to tomato-based ketchup during World War II due to a wartime shortage, but has remained popular ever since.
Later in 1942, banana ketchup began being mass-produced under the brand name “Mafran”, a company ran by Magdalo V. Francisco Sr. This was the first commercial banana ketchup brand sold on the Filipino market.
The Universal Food Corporation (UFC), who became one of the leading producers of banana ketchup, was incorporated later in 1960 when Magdalo sought to expand his business.
Banana ketchup remains immensely popular in the Philippines but has yet to really make it on the global market. Regardless, it remains a local Filipino food product with a dedicated fan-base. It’s certainly an interesting product which is worth trying.
If you’re looking to learn more about Filipino culture, I would recommend reading some of the articles over on this website. They have some great informational content written by local Filipinos which you can learn from.