banana

Bananas

Bananas

Bananas on sale in a market Most of us in the west associate bananas with the Caribbean or Central America, where the “banana republics” evolved in the last century. So some you may be surprised to find out that the banana is not native to the western hemisphere. In fact, it seems to have originated in Southeast Asia. The fruit actually is believed to have its origins in southern Thailand, along the Malay peninsula.

Thais Go Bananas for Bananas

Thais Go Bananas for Bananas

Large stalks of bananas in the market. Thais use almost every part of the banana tree in addition to the fruits. The leaves can be used as a serving plate, food wrapping, roofing material, ceremonial lanterns and even as a floor polisher. You can find banana leaves on sale in the fresh markets around Chiang Mai, folded up like freshly laundered bed sheets. The soft pith at the center of the trunk is often used to feed pigs, while the outer layers can be used to make string.