Serious Eats' Culinary Ambassadors check in from time to time with reports on food fare in their homeland or countries of residence. Here's the latest! (Find out more about CA or join here!) —The Mgmt.


[Photograph: burgermac on Flickr]

Banana ketchup is one of the greatest examples of the Philippines' enthusiasm for adopting foreign ingredients and adding its own tropical flair.

An analogue to tomato ketchup, banana ketchup is made from mashed bananas, vinegar, sugar, and spices and is dyed red to mimic tomato ketchup (and confuse first-generation Filipino-Americans who unwittingly dip their fries in this strange banana concoction). The resulting sauce is typical of the Filipino love of sweet and sour flavors and a perfect dip for all kinds of fried foods, from shrimp tempura to fried chicken.


[Photograph: inuyaki]

Popular brands like Jufran and UFC are available in the U.S. with spicy versions to satisfy Sriracha addicts looking for a new fix. Added to spaghetti sauce it adds real lasang Pinoy (Filipino flavor), the chilies and bananas blending seamlessly into the sweet and tangy gravy. And with Vienna sausages topping many homemade Pinoy spaghettis, banana ketchup is likely to be your least obvious surprise.

—Omar T.

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