Banana or 'glauy' is one of the most useful plants of the tropical Thailand. It is available all year round. We enjoy the fruits fresh or prepared as dessert and use the banana flower in various dishes. The leaves are used to wrap up food and made into containers. The inside young stalk can be used as hog feed. The tougher outside is torn into small strips and dried so that it can be turned into a durable type of string.
The banana plant grows in almost any type of soil and tolerates short floods. It requires neither fertilizer nor pesticide. It replicates by shooting out young plants around the original plant. Some types have such prolific roots that they don't have seeds. Banana plant flowers at 7-9 months and takes about 3 more months for the fruit to ripen. After harvest, the plant is cut down because it will not bear fruit again.
There are so many different types of bananas in Thailand, most of which I've not seen in the US:
- Gluay Nam Wah - Short and Fat - Gluay Hom - Like US ones - Gluay Kai - Short and thin skin and very strong scent - Gluay Leb Muh Nang - name means "Lady's Fingers" - Skinny and short - Gluay Hug Mook (plantain)- Big one with Thick Skin - normally grilled, but great flavor also comes out when microwaved. - Gluay Tani - It has a lot of seeds and some people believe a lady angel's spirit lives in the tree, so people generally don't eat them.