Banana chips and dried mangoes are the two Filipino fruit snacks that I absolutely love. Anywhere on the planet, doing almost anything, I can launch into a bag of either of these goodies and finish the entire package all by myself. But oddly, for several years, I couldnâ€™t stand the site of banana chips. When I was about 8, my dad had access to a huge plantation of bananas somewhere in Mindanao. Iâ€™m not sure if it belonged to a family friend or if he leased it, but suffice it to say there were bananas up the wazoo. So my parents decided to figure out a banana chip recipe and go into businessâ€¦ Actually, they were ahead of their time as they must have been one of the first to venture into this delicacy. For weeks we had these huge kalans (frying pans) in our garage in Manila, testing out all kinds of recipesâ€¦thicker lengthwise slices of bananas, boring cross-section cuts, white sugar, brown sugar, etc. By about the third day of this testing process, I swore off banana chips for at least another decadeâ€¦the sugar, the crunch and most of all, the lingering oily taste of pre-marketable versions was just too much to handle. And worse, my room was above the testing area so I smelled the process for a week at leastâ€¦
I was so averse to the chips I canâ€™t actually recall the brand name they eventually settled on! The business did okay at the start, floundered and was closed up not much later. And the extra inventory was, you guessed it, in our pantry! A decade or more later, I tasted some other banana chips and they were lighter, crisper and, well, tasted a whole lot better and I slowly regained a love for this great snack. I sometimes took to making my own pinoy trail mix with banana chips, chopped dried mango, pili nuts, kasoy, etc. for baon on road trips, at the beach etc. The chips in these photos were a gift from a family friend who are starting their own banana chips business down Southâ€¦and the twist is, these have reduced sugar content. Made with half sugar, half artificial sweetener, these chips were REALLY quite good! I understand they also have sugar-free versions on the wayâ€¦ Now, that is an interesting proposition if they can get good-looking, fine-tasting, no sugar or low-sugar versions onto the market! Good luck to these guysâ€¦more information if and when they hit the retail stores!