I didn’t have anything better to do tonight (well, I did, but you know how it goes), so I went looking for information about bananas in the local press. Since food is a regular staple of the nightly news, I figured there’d be plenty of news. And there was.
Here’s the deal. The vast majority of Taiwan’s bananas come from Kaohsiung County. Remember all the torrential rain they had down south at the beginning of the year? Well, the price of bananas skyrocketed to NT$60 per “jin.” Eager to reap profits, farmers rushed to plant bananas, resulting in a huge oversupply of bananas. The farmers then figured they could export the surplus, but get this: a whole boatload of Taiwan bananas bound for Japan was rejected by Japanese quality control inspectors for having unduly high levels of pesticide residue; those bananas were returned to Taiwan, where they just added to the surplus. Banana farmers did manage to export 200 tons of bananas to China, but that didn’t help much - neither did the fact that bananas and pitaya (火龍果) are the two most popular ghost month food offerings. In fact, the price of bananas plummeted to NT$9 per jin in July. Apparently, the farmers are very sad. They say they’re not even making cost.
I also read about how the Kaohsiung County mayor recently began promoting “banana cuisine,” and raved about banana fried rice and banana teppanyaki (banananyaki?). Rather than chuckle, the reporter grabbed a pair of chopsticks and dug right in. She concurred with Mayor Yang and added that banana rice noodles are very QQ.
So what you’re eating has been around for a while and has possibly traveled to Japan.
In other fruit news, I hear there won’t be many pomeloes (柚子) left for this year’s Moon Festival. They’re ripening ahead of schedule and due to the intercalary ghost month, the Moon Festival isn’t until October 6.
BTW, can I make a penis joke now?