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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.


On a fine day drifting down the Mekong, Anna and I decided to taste test all the bananas that were on our boat. Remarkably there were four different kinds of bananas with us. We sat and I put the bananas in front of me. I gave my predictions about which I would like the most. There was a big green one, a fat yellow one, a skinny yellow one, and a very bright yellow (and brown) one of tiny proportions that made me suspicious. I peeled each one and laid them out on their sides. I started with the tiny one. Surprisingly it did not taste bad. It was very sweet, but I am not sure if that was due to how ripe it was or some other reasons that has to do with bananas and science that I am unaware of. The texture was fine. The second one reminded me of a banana you buy at Whole Foods, or Harris Teeter, which is where people from my part of the world shop for food. That one was good, but it was stiffer and had a core. The flavor was right. The next banana was very fat. When I bit into it I almost thought there was a seed in my mouth because of the texture; there was a stronger, bigger core that needed to support all that flesh. The flavor was more tart. Lastly there was the green banana. It looked unripe. When I tried it, it was very ripe. It was the best banana. It was the one had I chosen initially to be the best overall, and I had been correct. It was the right amount of sweetness, right firmness. It reminded me of bananas my mom would use in her chocolate chip banana bread. The other bananas just didn’t hold up. It was the banana I knew and I liked it the most.