A Snacker’s Guide to Thai Grilled Sweet Bananas in Syrup (Kluay Tap กล้วยปิ้ง)
I’m not that big of a fan of things that are too sweet, but when they are fruit based, I’m more proned to like them.
For instance, sticky rice and durian is one of my absolute favorite sweet creations ever invented – of course because it is flavored by the world’s finest fruit.
There is another treat that I enjoy from time to time known by two names that refer to the same thing: Kluay Tap (กล้วยทับ) or Kluay Ping (กล้วยปิ้ง). This is the Thai style of grilled bananas served with sweet syrup (the syrup is optional).
Growing up in Africa, I used to eat lots of cooked bananas, but they were seldom used as a snacky dessert like they are in Thailand.
Unlike giant plantain bananas (popular in parts of African and South America), the sweet roasted banans in Thailand are made from Kluay Nam Wa (กล้วยนำ้หว้า), a variety of bananas that are small and slightly pointed.
They are available all over Thailand and at the Krabi market (pictured above), there were tons of these banans lined up. These are a little on the green side, and need to ripen up before they are best for grilling.
There are two main styles that I’ve seen for roasted bananas in Bangkok.
The first way is to roast the bananas keeping them whole. The vendor slides them on sticks and roasts them until golden brown on the outside and fully cooked on the inside.
When you order this style of Kluay Tap (กล้วยทับ), the vender will grab the bananas, flatten them with a wooden mallet, slice them up into bite sized chunks and either put syrup into the bag or include the syrup in a separate bag (I prefer the latter options because I sometimes prefer just plain roasted bananas).
The other method is to cut the banas in slices, skewer them up like pork satays and roast them over low heat until fully cooked.
This method leaves each piece of banana a bit crunchier on the outside.
When the bananas skewers (Kluay Tap กล้วยทับ) are cooked, they are then put into a smasher and lightly smushed down into flat banana bites.
The skewers are then displayed on a plate and lathered with syrup so they don’t get dried out.
Again, some vendors will have grilled bananas already sitting in syrup while others will keep them separate. Getting bananas on satay sticks allows for ease of eating and dipping into the syrup, but it all depends of which style you prefer best.
Getting Kluay Tap (กล้วยทับ) is normally eaten with an overly sweet syrup that reminds me quite a bit of caramel.
It’s made with coconut milk, cane sugar and oil or butter – I think it might be great with ice cream, but I’ve never tried!
So if you’re looking for a great fruity snack in Thailand, be sure to grab a bag or a few skewers of Kluay Tap (กล้วยทับ).
The vendor above is located at Sam Long Market (ตลาดสำโรง) in the parking lot for all the lot songthaew trucks that deliver passenger and produce. It’s near the Imperial Big C shopping center.