Banana cue is a popular food in the Philippines that consists of a deep-fried banana coated in caramelized brown sugar. Although this food is usually deep-fried, it also goes by the names of banana-Q or banana-que, a play on the word barbeque. This has been called “Filipino comfort food” and is considered a delicacy in Manila and other parts of the Philippines. It is often enjoyed as a street food, and its innate portability makes it a common part of outdoor festivals or celebrations.
Cooks who prepare banana cue commonly start with semi-ripe bananas. Bananas that are too ripe may fall apart or get too soft during cooking. Local varieties of bananas called “sabas” are often used for this dish. Nearly any kind of banana can be used, however, provided it is of the right consistency to prevent it from breaking down in heat. The banana may be fried whole, or cut in parts or strips.
The coating ingredient for banana cue starts with dark brown sugar. For a pan-fried version of banana cue, cooks can start with the brown sugar and some vegetable oil in a pan. Olive oil or other types of vegetable oil can be used. Some cooks may add additional flavor ingredients like vanilla or confectioner’s sugar, though this is not a traditional version of the food.
The bananas used for banana cue are rolled in the above mixture and then lightly fried. Cooks can also make this food in a fryer where it’s also important to limit the cooking time. This dish is often served by itself on a stick. An alternate version may be served in a bowl with ice cream.
Detailed explanations of the name for this food suggest that it is called the banana cue, not because it is grilled, which it most often is not, but because it is served on a stick or skewer. The banana cue is just one form of the banana as a regional dish; the commonality of this fruit makes it a favorite in many other nearby parts of the world, under many different names. For example, in various parts of Africa, a grilled or barbequed version of the sweetened banana is common, which is sometimes called ginanggang. Cooks who serve this food within the context of an exotic global menu may refer to it as a “banana flambé” or other similar name.