A popular condiment in the Philippines, banana ketchup is a sauce made of vinegar, sugar, other spices, and, of course, bananas.
Without the presence of tomatoes, it’s both sweeter and less vinegar-heavy than standard ketchup. And while the resulting color of the mixture is naturally a brown-ish yellow, many commercial versions are dyed to look more red like tomato ketchup. This beloved condiment is used in many the same ways as tomato ketchup: fried foods, grilled and skewered meats, hot dogs and hamburgers — and Filipino spaghetti!
The exact origins of banana ketchup are unknown, but it’s popularly said to have originated in World War II, when American soldiers brought tomato ketchup to the Philippines. Since tomatoes were hard to find at the time but bananas were plentiful, Filipino locals adapted it to a banana version. That said, banana ketchup probably existed in some forms before World War II — or at least, condiments that were similar enough to be considered a “proto-banana ketchup” — but there’s no doubt that World War II was where banana ketchup took its modern form.
If you’re looking for banana ketchup in the Pacific Northwest, you can find it in Uwajimaya’s condiment and sauce aisles.