Deep-fried saba bananas coated with crisp caramelized sugar. Banana Cue is a timeless Filipino snack that is so easy to make using only 3 ingredients! So next time you crave this yummy street food- make it yourself instead of buying them!
Filipinos are very fond of having mid-afternoon snacks or merienda. That is why you will find street food vendors in every nook and corner of the Philippines. Among the most popularly sold street foods are Kwek-kwek, Fishballs, Maruya, Turon, Kamote Cue, and Banana Cue, which is considered one of the best-selling street food in the country.
What is Banana Cue?
Meet the Filipino equivalent of American apple caramel.
Banana cue or bananaque is simply fried bananas cooked with brown sugar until caramelized and then skewered onto bamboo sticks. Its name came from the combination of the words, banana, and barbecue. This is because the caramelized bananas resemble golden-brown grilled meat and of course, the use of barbecue sticks.
Why make homemade Banana Cue?
I love making them at home because they are best enjoyed while still warm. You bite into the crispy sugar coating and get to the tart-sweet and firm-tender banana inside. Pure bliss! It is very simple to cook, but it is one of the most popular Filipino snacks for several reasons:
- It is so quick and easy to make. You just need a bundle of Saba bananas, brown sugar, and oil- that's it! You can whip up an entire batch using one pan in just a few minutes.
- Budget-friendly. Since we live in a tropical country, bananas grow everywhere! And this variety is no exemption- so they come in really cheap (or free if you have them in your backyard). All you need is sugar and oil, which are pantry basics.
- Healthier than other snacks. Banana is considered one of the healthiest fruits in the world. It is rich in fiber and vitamins but does not have fats or cholesterol. Saba bananas contain starchy carbs that help make you feel full for a long time. The amount of sugar can be a concern to some, but the beauty of homemade food is that you can add and adjust as much as you want.
What You'll Need in cooking Banana Cue
Saba Bananas – If unavailable, you may use ripe plantains. Its capacity to withstand the deep-frying process and natural sweetness will also work with this recipe.
Brown sugar – You may also opt for light brown or muscovado sugar.
Cooking Oil – Use a neutral-tasting oil with a high smoke point like canola and corn oil.
Foxy Tips when Making Banana Cue
- Saba bananas that just ripened are the best used for this recipe. They are firmer, which means they absorb less oil. They are also less sweet and can retain their shape for a longer time.
- Once the sugar has melted and caramelized, it can burn very quickly. Make sure to lower the heat and remove the bananas from the pan right away. Overcooking the sugar coating will make your banana cue bitter.
- Once you've skewered all of the bananas, place them on a wire rack or in a colander to remove excess oil.
- If you do not have bamboo skewers, you can simply enjoy your Banana cue on a plate and eat it with a fork. It is usually served on a barbecue stick or skewer so folks can eat them easily while standing or walking along the streets.
Storing Leftover Banana Cue
You can place leftovers in the fridge for about 2-3 days. You can reheat them by re-frying them in hot oil. One suggestion is to peel off the sugar coating before refrigerating them as it will become sticky and gooey.
Fry them and sprinkle with a fresh batch of brown sugar to get that perfect crispiness again! Based on experience, the bananas won't be as tender after storing, but they would still be delicious.
Banana Cue Recipe
- 12 pieces saba Banana
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups oil
- 12 pieces saba BananaPeel the bananas, then set them aside.
- 2 cups oilHeat oil in a deep pan or wok using medium heat
- 1 cup brown sugarOnce the oil is hot enough, fry the bananas until they turn light brown. Then sprinkle them with brown sugar. Mix until all sides are covered; sprinkle more sugar if needed.
- Once the sugar has melted and turned a dark golden brown, remove them from heat. Skewer 2 bananas per bamboo stick and serve!