Brazilian Challenge Day 78: Banana Taste Test

Apologies, I’ve been behind on posting my daily challenges due to preparing for my challenge on Day 81. I’m planning on catching up today.

So on Day 78, I decided to learn a bit more about the elusive banana. In the U.S., we basically have one banana. But in Brazil, you’ll find at least 11 different varieties.

So what’s the diff? I decided to check it out.

I purchased four different varieties of banana at the grocery store: Banana Maca, Banana Nanica, Banana Prata and Banana Terra.

I decided to taste them in order of price from highest to lowest.

Banana Maca

The Banana Maca was the most expensive at R$6.90 per kg. It was smallest of the three bananas, smaller than the ones you get in the U.S. Although it appeared ripe, I mean it was yellow, the skin was tough to pull back. I bit into it and… ACK! BLAH. It tasted terrible! Like what I would imagine tree bark would taste like. Like an uncooked root. I literally jumped up from the table and ran to the sink to try and get the taste out of my mouth! Yuck! I don’t know if this particular needs to be waaaaaay ripe to be edible, or if it is the kind that you make, I don’t know, soup with. But it was NOT edible in the format that I had acquired.

Banana Prata

The next in price was Banana Prata at R$5.20 per kg. This one looked more like your average banana. The taste was surprisingly sour, but not terrible. Not something I would snack on though.

Banana Terra

The next was Banana Terra, also at R$5.20 per kg. This one wasn’t pretty, long and thin and kind of beaten up. But Brazilians often laugh at the Americans who need their fruit to be nice looking before we will consume it. So I though I’d dig in without fear. I took a bite, it also tasted slightly sour. But then I noticed there was something… inside it. It looked like, well I don’t even know, some kind flat… vein.

Hmmm. I pulled it apart to see what was in there.

Ack! What is that! It looked like the banana had blood in it. Yeesh. I only bought one of these so I don’t know if this was a freak Banana Terra or if this was the norm. Regardless, I didn’t take another bite.

Banana Nanica

Finally was Banana Nanica at R$3.00 per kg. I peeled away the skin. I (cautiously) took a bite. It pretty much tasted like a regular banana. A little sweet, nothing frightening inside. This was as close as I’d tasted to the bananas back home. Delicious.

So my advice to you if you are banana shopping for a snack, go with the Banana Nanica. If you want to make banana soup, you know which one to go for.

This entry was posted in 366 day Brazilian Challenge, Foreigner Insights, Tourist Info, What the h*ll is that? and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Brazilian Challenge Day 78: Banana Taste Test

  1. Karina says:

    Hello :),

    Banana da Terra is usually cooked, baked or fried (like those that you usually see breaded and fried).
    I think you’re the first person that I’ve known who have eaten it like that :).
    The banana maçã that you bought was probably ripe, as it is usually very very sweet. Maybe you should wait some days before trying it.
    Maybe you should wait for the skin to get a more intense yellow color (but before the black dots start to show up).
    Only last thing: the feiras usually sell bananas by “dozen’s” or half dozen, instead of weight. I think it’s better :).

    I think that in the next few weeks you will find some big tasty persimmon (caqui in Portuguese). There are two types: one that is kind of firm (here in my town we call it caqui chocolate), and a second one, my favorite, that is really nice, looks like a tomato, big, bright, delicious :).

    Good luck, keep up the good work :).

    • Thanks for the info! Yes, I’ll wait on the Banana Maca… something definitely was wrong. I’m starting to see the caqui! I love it!

      • Patricia says:

        Caqui seems odd to me (reminds me too much of a tomato) BUT… put 2 in a blender with a can of creme de leite and a can of condensed milk, beat and refrigerate and you have…. Caqui mousse!!! Now that’s good.

  2. megalagom says:

    Wow! How interesting! What great information- I never knew there were so many types of bananas! Nice taste test! (Now I know to be cautious about biting into bananas in Brazil!)

  3. Brasilicana says:

    Haha, I was about to tell you the banana da terra needs to be cooked (they’re plantains), but Karina beat me to it! Banana maca is actually quite sweet when it’s fully ripe. The problem with banana maca, though, is that after they’re fully ripe they spoil in like a day – so it’s not a good idea to buy them by the bunches :-p

  4. Stephanie says:

    My fav here is banana d’agua, it takes most like the chiquita ones that I loved back in the states. They are large, good texture and that good balance of flavor. You can’t always find them though, you have to look! I also love banana passa here…there’s one called power fruit or something like that that is sweet and delish!!!

  5. Andrew Francis says:

    Wow, what bad luck. Personally, I prefer banana prata but it shouldn’t taste sour. It may be a little tart compared to nanica (so should banana maca) and have a less intense banana flavor but that’s it.

  6. anna says:

    we usually give “banana maca” to babies because its very sweet! small kids love it

  7. Jenner says:

    Banana da terra is the best variety to fry. Yes, you can fry bananas! Try it and tell us your impression! Take one large banana da terra, slice and fry it with just a little of soy oil until golden brown. Serve with sugar and cinnamon powder.

  8. Ana says:

    Banana prata is the best…
    You probably liked nanica because its the one that is exported to US.
    I live in new york and I wish I could find banana prata somewhere…It’s simply the best. 🙂

  9. Gabriel says:

    Just came along this post bc I was looking for a specific information… my friend, banana maçã is only eatable and ripe, when the skin starts bursting/opening. Otherwise it will leave this odd sensation of a dry and hairy tongue. But when ripe, it tastes so delicious. Yes, it undergoes a major change in taste in theses few days of ripening. Banana da terra you can eat raw too, but is has to be very ripe, like black. Then the banana hast an almost pink color, tastes delicious. But most people prepare it the way you described.

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