Eating Banana Plant Trunks

When we went to visit my in-laws for Christmas, they showed me a young banana trunk that they planned to make salad with. My husband’s aunt sliced it into tissue—thin pieces using a knife he made.

Slicing young banana trunks for salad.

Slicing young banana trunks for salad.

I have eaten banana flower many times before—my husband often puts it in Vietnamese sour soup—but I don’t remember eating banana trunk. I was glad to try it since I wrote about people eating it in Catching Shrimp with Bare Hands.

After the Communists took over Vietnam, many people didn’t have enough rice to eat so they mixed in banana trunk to fill their bellies up. They didn’t have the young banana trunks since those could still bear fruit. Instead they ate sappy tough old trunks that turn black when you cut them.

My brother-in-law says that if you walked in on a family and saw them eating old banana trunks they would cry—even pigs didn’t eat that. My husband hated eating them. He said they sat in his stomach like green banana peels.His family never had enough to eat, but they had enough not to have to eat something even pigs didn’t like.

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