Sri Lankan Bananas – I’m bananas for them!

I’ve just got back from a two week holiday in Sri Lanka and am already missing its bananas, which are out-and-out, no contest, the best goddamn bananas I have ever eaten, anywhere, ever. Full stop. Amen.

Sri Lankan bananas

Full Stop. Amen.

In fact, before visiting Sri Lanka, I don’t think I’d ever really eaten a proper banana, just mere imitations of them: under-ripe, over-refridgerated, no-life-left-in-them apologies for bananas which (I realise now) must have little nutritional value and certainly no taste to speak of.

In Sri Lanka, there are more than 20 different types of banana, each with their own name, and the Sri Lankans are very proud of them.

We have small ones, big ones, some as large-as-your-arm-ones, red ones, sweet ones, salty ones and some only for cooking,” said our guide, with an enthusiastic wag of his head, when we brought them up one day.


Big ones, red ones, some as-long-as-your-arm ones.

Bananas very good for your health,” said another Sri Lankan seriously. “Government say bananas lower cholesterol, help heart and stop cancer. That is why in Sri Lanka very little cancer. Because of bananas.

I can well believe it. We had bananas every day while we were there as part of our morning fruit platter, which comprised Sri Lankan papaya, Sri Lankan pineapple and the smallest, sweetest (and most popular) variety of Sri Lankan banana, known as Seeni Kesel. And – would you believe it – with its tangy sweet flavour, warmed-by-the-sun ripeness, and fell-from-the-tree-five-mins-ago freshnesss, the banana stole the show every time!

Sri Lankan Seeni Kesal banana

Spot the show-stealer.

Of course, the problem with great banana enlightenment is that prior ignorance (blissful or otherwise) is forever lost. This means that my usual Sainsbury’s banana (which I’ve happily eaten chopped up on my cereal or porridge for years, but now recognise as mere mockery) has been forever ruined. Quite simply, I’ve moved into the first class lounge of banana-eating, and, from now on, if my bananas aren’t Sri Lankan, it’s no bananas at all!

3 thoughts on “Sri Lankan Bananas – I’m bananas for them!

  1. You are right. The “bananas” in UK supermarkets are not really bananas at all. They are the very inferior “plantain”.
    If anyone knows where to buy real bananas then please tell!

  2. Hi, I am from Sri Lanka, now living in Australia. I was doing some research on agricultural products and came across this blog. I agree with you completely, once you have tried the sweet juicy tropical fruits from Sri Lanka, there’s no turning back. The type of banana that’s available here is not popular in Sri Lanka because of its poor taste. The same applies to mangoes, papaw and pineapple. You need to try mangoes next time you visit Sri Lanka, we have more than 20 varieties of different mangoes as well :) and each type with its unique taste and texture. Oh I miss Sri Lanka !!!

  3. Last night in Sri Lanka and I just googled where to get these absolute lovely bananas from back in the uk. I want to fill my suitcase full, there are four main varieties.
    Tried a red banana yesterday but my favourite is the small dumpty yellow one.

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