Kon Tum dried banana specialty

Products “home plants, garden leaves”

Although there are no statistics on how many hectares of banana growing land Kon Tum has, coming to this northernmost region of the Central Highlands, you can see porcelain banana trees everywhere. Going to the districts, bananas are also planted by farmers around wheat and rubber fields, on plot banks… sometimes bananas are grown extensively on the hillsides.

During the Lunar New Year, Kon Tum porcelain bananas are supplied to the market throughout the southern and central provinces. Compared to other places, porcelain bananas grown in Kon Tum are always popular in the market because the fruits are large, round, and sweet in taste – whether they are grown in the garden or in the fields.

“Also from the abundant source of raw materials, people in Kon Tum have come up with a way to process dried bananas manually as gifts and to give to relatives. Gradually, the dish became popular so many people made it to sell on the market” – said Ms. Trinh, who has 25 years of experience in processing dried banana specialties on Phan Chu Trinh street (Kon Tum city).

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Ms. Trinh finished cutting the banana blisters and preparing to put them in the oven to dry. Photo: China

Ms. Trinh started working as a dried banana processor after the re-establishment of Kon Tum province. According to this woman, 25 years ago, there were only a few people working in Kon Tum. At that time, the drying and baking technology did not have modern machinery like now, so ripe bananas were peeled and pressed into cakes, then dried for 4-5 days in the sun before grilling on a charcoal stove; Sometimes when it rains, the pressed banana cakes have to be heated for a whole week before they can dry. Although this job is not difficult, it requires a lot of time. The price of dried banana products is quite “affordable” and is “home-grown”, so no matter how much you make, you will sell them all.

Ms. Trinh introduced that to process dried bananas, you have to go through many stages. First is choosing bananas, then pressing bananas, drying bananas, baking bananas… It sounds simple, but to create the desired finished product, it took Ms. Trinh several years of experience to be able to create it. batches of dried bananas are praised by consumers like now.

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Only ripe banana bunches are selected to process dried bananas. Photo: China

The most difficult thing to prepare dried banana specialties is choosing banana ingredients. To have sweet, flexible and delicious dried banana cakes, you must choose ripe bananas. Because if you choose a banana that is just ripe but still has green veins, it will have an astringent taste; If you choose a ripe banana and squeeze it, it will not be fragrant or sweet…

Therefore, each bunch of bananas purchased is carefully selected and classified by Ms. Trinh. Each time she squeezes bananas, she takes the trouble to select each ripe banana to ensure the quality of the finished product.

Compared to before, the technology for making dried bananas is now more modern. At Ms. Trinh’s dried banana production facility, up to now, most of the stages use modern machinery such as dryers, grills, vacuum machines and are continuing to place orders to buy more juicers.

According to Ms. Trinh, investing in machinery for this profession is very necessary, to ensure food hygiene and safety, and avoid flies and flies due to long processing times. Specifically, if before it took several days to dry bananas (not to mention it took a whole week if it rained), now, with machine technology, the time for the finished product only takes 1 day.

Specialties attract customers

Ms. Vu Thi Xuyen – Owner of the Tay Nguyen dried banana production facility on Nguyen Van Linh street (Kon Tum city) shared: Dried bananas are a specialty of Kon Tum so the product is now famous throughout the country. In addition to providing products to markets and grocery stores in Kon Tum city, many customers in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi also order by phone.

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Ms. Xuyen kept an eye on the banana blisters being put into the oven. Photo: China

Therefore, although there are currently many small-scale (household) dried banana production establishments appearing, they do not fall into fierce competition and sell out no matter how much product they produce. – Ms. Xuyen said.

This season, when going to dried banana production facilities in Kon Tum, almost every facility focuses on purchasing bananas twice or three times more than in previous months.

According to Ms. Xuyen, the best-selling dried banana products are during the summer and before and after the Lunar New Year. The product “attracts customers” at these times because it meets the needs of gifts for students preparing for admission, as well as the need to buy Tet gifts for relatives and friends far away…

However, the best selling time for products is also the most difficult time to purchase input materials because summer is often dry so banana trees easily die; During Tet season, gardeners often sell bananas as offerings, so the price is very high.

Therefore, in order to have dried banana products sold on the market at the most “popular” time, establishments usually focus on producing dried bananas several months in advance.

To prepare for this year’s Christmas and Lunar New Year season, from the beginning of November, Ms. Trinh’s dried banana production facility had to hire a new employee to be able to handle three times the number of bananas purchased daily compared to the previous day. often. Every day, on average, Ms. Trinh’s facility produces 15kg of dried bananas (equivalent to 15 blisters of pressed bananas), so her facility’s 2 ovens and dryers operate at full capacity.

To preserve products for a long time, many dried banana production facilities also apply vacuum technology. According to the experience of production facility owners, previously, products could only be preserved for 3 months, but since using this technology, the product preservation period has been extended to 6 months.

In order to attract the market, many dried banana production facilities also process many types of dried bananas that are quite unique and strange. From the original unique specialty of pure dried bananas, now the market also has crispy dried bananas seasoned with sugar, dried chopped bananas seasoned with honey, dried bananas seasoned with honey and ginger…

Ms. Trinh is one of the first people in Kon Tum to create the product of dried bananas soaked in honey, ginger and chopped bananas soaked in honey. She said that the fate was that because her family had previously worked as a honey beekeeper, she came up with the idea of ​​testing a new product and it was successful.

To make dried bananas soaked in honey and ginger, Ms. Trinh shared her experience: After the bananas are dried in the oven, take them out and soak them in honey diluted with ginger juice, then continue to transfer to the oven. If it only takes a few minutes to put regular dried bananas in the oven, then if you want dried bananas soaked in honey to be delicious, you must adjust the oven temperature lower to prolong the baking time for at least 30 minutes so that the honey penetrates deeply into the banana pieces. , so the product will taste more delicious, and the banana cake will be more golden after being baked. When each banana cake is golden and fragrant, it can be taken out of the oven to cool before packaging.

Dried banana products currently sold on the market have many different prices, depending on weight, but in general are quite “soft”: 250g type costs 15,000 VND, 350g type costs 20,000 VND, 500g type costs 40,000 VND…

Dried banana production facilities all register different brands and increasingly strive to bring the most beautiful and quality finished products to introduce Kon Tum’s specialties to many people.

Indeed, there is nothing more enjoyable than traveling to a certain land and being able to find a specialty that is both delicious, affordable, and easy to transport. Coming to Kon Tum, visitors can easily choose to buy dried bananas at souvenir and grocery stores to bring home as gifts for relatives and friends.