This week, let’s discover together an endemic Polynesian fruit, the Fe’i. A banana with a special flavour, highly appreciated by Polynesians.
We do not know much about the origin of the banana, but we think that it was brought by Polynesians during their migration. In the old Polynesian society, the Fe’i represented prestige and power of nature It was both a livelihood, and also a means to delimit the lands.
The varieties of bananas cultivated in French Polynesia are various, but the Fe’i banana is undoubtedly the most appreciated by Polynesians. We can recognize it thanks to its bright orange colour, and its violet sap is used as a permanent dye. The bunches of this species of banana have the special characteristic to grow up toward the sky. This plant particularly appreciates the slopes of mountainous islands, between 300 and 1 200 meters of altitude, but it is also found in lowland areas. There are several different types of Fe’i also named “mountain plantain banana”.
Many varieties are dying out , the culture of those bananas is more complicated than “common” banana trees.
We consume the Fe’i boiled, cooked in the oven or roast in the Tahitian oven, the “Ahima’a”. It is an excellent accompaniment for meat or fish, or it can simply be eaten with coconut milk. In French Polynesia we like it very because its taste is both sweet and tangy.
This banana is starchy rich in beta carotene and contains less sugar than “plantain bananas”. Easily digestible, it is a good source of protein, minerals and energy!
To taste the Fe’i banana and all the flavor of Polynesian meals , you just have to visit us!
Pictures: © Tahiti Tourisme