TURON de Banana

Fusion cuisine has received much publicity in recent years, as restaurant operators try to blend the culinary traditions of various immigrant groups. There’s Tex-Mex, obviously a blend of Texan and Mexican. Pacific Rim cuisine combines specialties from various island nations in the great blue yonder. California fusion cuisine is inspired by food brought in by immigrants from Italy, France, Mexico, the Philippines, and other places.

I went to Berkeley, CA one weekend morning to purchase an electronic item that a graduating student wanted to unload before seeking job prospects on the East coast. We got to talking about food, and she asked if I knew how to make banana lumpia.

I was taken by surprise; never heard the term before. Visualizing the two words, I quickly recognized what she was asking about: the turon !

Turon (Banana Spring Rolls)
Turon (Banana Spring Rolls)

Isn’t that a clever way of naming a not-so-familiar food item, by invoking the name of a more famous cousin, the lumpia ? For, indeed, the turon and the lumpia are similar products; the difference lies in what’s inside.   The lumpia that people are familiar with contains vegetables and ground meats; banana lumpia contains slices of banana…

KODAK Digital Still Camera
preferably the “vegetable” variety called saba,
shown here as photographed at a roadside fruit stand
along the highway to Tagytay.


Here is some clarification regarding the terms turon and turron.   I venture the theory that the turon discussed above is so-called mainly because it is crunchy Its  full name  should be  turon de banana, to distinguish it from other Philippine turons, discussed below.
Crunchiness is an essential characteristic of real turron candy, which is made with honey, sugar, egg whites, and assorted nuts.  Its name is based on the Latin word torrere, meaning “to toast.”  The toasted ingredients are the nuts, which contribute t the crunchiness of the final product.  Philippine candies called turon de casuy / de mani / de pili, etc.) are more in keeping with this turron idea.The local nut called pili is sometimes ground up and mixed with honey or sugar to create masapan.
Masapan is similar to the Goan (India) mazpon, and both can be traced to the European marzipan, made with almond paste and sugar or honey.  This product is not crunchy.

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