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Apr 27, 2009 05:26 PM

Manzano Bananas in Nova/DC?

Has anyone had any luck finding these?
I had them when I was in Hawai'i, but haven't had any success finding them here on the mainland.

In Hawai'i, we call them 'apple bananas'.

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  1. Discojing,

    Thanks for educating me. I discovered these bananas a few years ago and I have never known what they are called. You're right. They are nearly impossible to find around here. BUT, you will be able to find an endless source at the Korean Korner grocery store on Viers Mill Road, in Rockville. Surprisingly, they are priced about the same as normal bananas. (Incidentally, Korean Korner has what I consider one of the three best produce markets in the area. Great variety and freshness. Incredible prices.)

    For anyone who has never had these bananas, they are really extraordinary. They have this thin, delicate peel that tends to burst open as the banana ripens. They are incredibly sweet and have a slightly less fibrous texture. Also, the cute, mini size is very cool!

    1. I just googled to see what these bananas looked like. Well, these are the ones I've always referred to as "baby bananas" and I've had them for years and years. They are available in most Asian markets like Super H (old Han Ah Rheum), Lotte, Grand Mart, Korean Korner (as Sean has said), and probably Great Wall. Just check around those type markets. They are widely available, but they are not always in stock.

      2 Replies
      1. re: comestibles

        Yes, I've seen and purchased "baby bananas". They aren't the same. They look the same, but they're not. They have no apple flavor.

        I think it's like buying 'baby bok choy' or 'baby spinach'. I've been to Super H, Lotte, Great Wall, and Grand Mart (as well as H Mart and Wegmans). I was thinking they might have them in the more Latino stores? (Like Global Food in Manassas).

        They're good, but I'm not quite sure they're drive-to-rockville-to-see-if-this-korean-store-i've-never-been-to-before-might-have-them good.

        1. re: discojing

          Apple flavor?? Wow...this plot thickens. I've always thought that these bananas at Korean Korner tasted different, but I never thought of them in terms of tasting like apples.

          I'll pass by Korean Korner this week and get some to do another tasting. I'll let you guys know what I find.

      2. I found some! You piqued my curiosity about a banana that tastes like apple that I checked out a couple of Hispanic markets. I located some at LA Mart in Langley Park. I go there infrequently to get some cheap fajita meat cuts. Anyway I picked up some Manzanos today at $0.99/lb. Maybe you can find some at a Hispanic market closer to you.

        1. Hey, I finally got back to Korean Korner to check on the little bananas I used to buy. They were indeed Manzanos! (Said so on the stickers and the shelf labeling, anyway.)

          I always thought they tasted better than other bananas, but I never connected an apple/strawberry flavor to them. This time around, I could definitely make out a characteristic difference. (Still not sure I'd call it an apple flavor, but whatever it is - I love it!)

          BTW - They are $1.25/pound. A bit more expensive than regular bananas, but still pretty cheap.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sean D

            I bought them yesterday at Q Mart in Germantown. I think they were 89 cents a pound, maybe 99.

          2. I've seen them at both Whole Foods (Clarendon) and Super H Mart (Fairfax).
            The Whole Foods ones were disgusting, mushy, and brown. The Super H Mart ones are yellow and firmer. The Whole Foods one was disgusting and had an off-putting texture. I will try the ones from Super H Mart and report back as to their flavor and consistency.

            Hopefully they'll taste similar to the ones I had in Hawai'i, but I have a feeling they're a different sub-species than Hawai'i's. The ones in Hawai'i had a very strong apple taste.

            3 Replies
            1. re: discojing

              I have a feeling that the taste/texture will depend on the country of origin. Did you notice/remember the labeling of the bananas you had in Hawaii?

              The first Manzanos I tasted came from Columbia. They had a medium apple/strawberry taste to them and the texture was firm and smooth. Very nice. The ones I am eating now came from Costa Rica and they have a less pronounced apple taste than those from Columbia. The texture is like that of regular bananas.

              Do Manzanos grow in Hawaii? I understand that they are also grown in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and that the U.S. (continental?) only imports those from South America. If Manzanos do not grow in Hawaii, maybe they came from Asia? In any case, it may not be possible to find bananas here with a very strong apple taste.

              I would be interested in hearing about the ones from Super H - and please report country of origin.

              1. re: discojing

                Sorry to hear about your experience, Discojing. The ones I got from Korean Korner were so yummy that I actually gave them all away and had to get more. These are firm, very sweet, buttery, and definitely have a vivid and unusual flavor.

                I'm still not sure I'd characterize it as an apple flavor, but it's definitely something very different.

                I saw Comestibles' comment and I think there may be something to it. I come from a family of farmers and I know that much of a fruit's character comes from the soil and pollination source. This is most evident in grapes, which are developed to pick-up the tastes of adjacent flowers, fruits, and vegetables. I know that Hawaii coffee and chocolate have a distinct character that I pick up on.

                Give those Korean Korner bananas a try. Good luck.

                1. re: Sean D

                  The ones from Super H were from Columbia. Much better in flavor! Might be because I stuck them in the fridge, they were actually ripe and not mushy. Super H rang up at about $1.69 for a bunch of 10.