Is Jufran Banana Sauce the Next Sriracha?
As a kid, I remember when my friend first spied the bottle on my mom’s kitchen shelf. “Fish sauce?!” she exclaimed, her nose wrinkling.
"It's not made from fish," I told her (wrongly, by the way—I was eight), "It's to put on fish." Among other foods, as the rest of America would soon find out.
As Southeast Asian food has exploded in popularity in the last 15 years, condiments and seasonings like sriracha, sweet chili sauce, and fish sauce (patis in Tagalog) have come along for the ride. And while my mom used to have to pick up fish sauce at specialty markets, now it can be found next to the Kikkoman soy sauce at almost any supermarket.
At first, the trend was Thai cuisine. Now, Filipino food is all the rage. And people are talking about Jufran Banana Sauce, aka banana ketchup. Even Bon Appétit named its hot version as one of the candidates for “The Next Sriracha.”
What is it?
Concocted during a shortage of tomatoes in the Philippines, it’s literally a ketchup made from a mixture of bananas, vinegar, and spices, which is then dyed red to imitate Heinz’s iconic condiment. Many people call it the condiment of the Philippines, and it’s often a staple on tabletops, next to the patis and toyo (soy sauce).
What does it taste like?
Sweeter and smoother than tomato ketchup, whose brightness is almost citrusy in comparison. It’s not spicy, but it’s got an undercurrent of heat or smokiness to it.
What do you put it on?
Anything you’d put ketchup on, first and foremost. It’s also the key ingredient in Filipino spaghetti, which is much sweeter than the American version. Some friends of mine use it to make barbecue sauce. Besides that, try it on these dishes:
- Pork chops
- Fried chicken
- Eggs and Spam
- Eggplant torta (omelet)
And as mentioned above, the hot version of Jufran has an extra kick that makes it a great spicy-sweet substitute for sriracha.
Where can you get it?
Though Aimee stays up to date on the latest food trends for the Guide, most of her meals are served cold and cut into tiny, toddler-sized bites.