Bananas are the most widely consumed fruits in the world. Believe it or not, there are 29 different varieties of bananas in Sri Lanka. They all come in different shapes, colours, sizes and taste. Although I didn’t try all 29 types I was fortunate enough to try  7 of the most widely found types.

Bananas for Sale in Negombo Sri Lanka
Bananas for Sale in Negombo Sri Lanka

I love bananas because they are extremely healthy and delicious fruits and apart from being a convenient fruit as a snack they can go into smoothies, desserts, cakes and curries.

Here are 7 Amazing types of Bananas you must try

Seeni bananas(Sugar banana)

They are very small in size, very firm and sweet. You can identify by their brown-yellow colour when they fully ripen. It looks like they are going off by their looks but they are not and it’s a perfect time to eat them when they look that colour. They taste very sweet and sometimes too sweet. They are perfect for making cakes, desserts and smoothies. As eating them on its own was too sweet for my taste buds, I particularly liked them in my smoothies along with citrus fruits.

Different Types of Bananas of Sri Lanka
Different Types of Bananas of Sri Lanka

Ambul bananas (Sour banana)

It took me a while to differentiate them from Seeni bananas although they are very similar in size yet they are very different in taste. They are short and slender in shape with pale yellow, smooth colour and pointed ends. They well known for their sour taste and hind of sweetness and therefore, less common used in desserts. 

Bananas in Batticaloa Sri Lanka
Bananas in Batticaloa Sri Lanka ┬ęDileep Kaluaratchie

Kolikuttu Bananas (Silk)

Silk bananas one of my favourite bananas. You can spot them easily amongst the other types. I love the texture and the sweeteners in them. They have a slightly curvy shape, look plump and have yellow-tinged brown colour due to brownish spots on the skin when it ripens. I love the taste a perfect balance of sweet and sour and enjoy eating them as they are. Their skin is very thin and fun to peel.

Yellow and Green Bananas in Sri Lanka
Yellow and Green Bananas in Sri Lanka

Red Bananas (Rath-kehel)

Red Banans in Sri Lanka
Red Banans in Sri Lanka

They are the most delicious bananas I have ever tried and they are favourite of mine! You can definitely spot them from the crowd. Famous for their red pigmented skin. When they ripen their red skin develops dark brown markings. They are short and plump like they are going to burst out of their skin. The flesh is mustard yellow in colour and texture is very soft and delicious. Love their creamy sweet taste. They are not very common and are significantly more expensive than the rest.

Anamalu Bananas (are-na-maa-loo)

Banana Tree Growing in Jaffna, North Sri Lanka
Banana Tree Growing in Jaffna, North Sri Lanka (Pretty sure these are Anamalu)

Also known as Gros Michel. They are slender and curvy in size, the skin is thick and I tried them when they were green. I thought they were not ready to be eaten and always avoided buying them. One day I was visiting a family function and they had green bananas for dessert. I was hesitant to try but I did and was very surprised by how sweet they were. It was easy to peel and had a specific aroma and a soft texture. For the next six months, I almost always added one of these to my morning porridge.

Ash plantain (Alu kesel)

Used in cooking variety. They are small and slightly curved with dark green colour and thick skin. They called Ash plantain due to their colour, misty outside like ash on the skin. When they coked they are delicious with a creamy texture and is known for benefits for digestive health. I didn’t consume much of this because it requires frying and was difficult with my Whole-food plant-based, no oil lifestyle.

Ash plantain (Alu kesel) - Sri Lanka
Ash plantain (Alu kesel) – Sri Lanka

Kessel muwa – (banana blossom)

Grows at the end of a banana fruit cluster and has an intense purple colour with the shape of a tear. The cooked banana flower reminds me of the taste of artichokes but cooking it with spices gives it its own identity due to heat and sharpness. It’s also common to find this in pickled form in Sri Lanka.

Banana Flower

So by now, you will have a better idea of the types of bananas you can get on this beautiful island….. When you are next on your holiday try them all. This nutritious and versatile fruit is available all year round. They are fairly cheap and available practically everywhere you look.

I tried bananas in many other countries in South Asia and I can certainly say that nothing comes even close to the bananas I tasted in Sri Lanka. I’m surprised that Sri Lanka is not better known for its bananas.

So enjoy… when you are there!

Bananas being transported in Sri Lanka
Bananas being transported in Sri Lanka (┬ę Dileep Kaluaratchie)
Banana Flower
Banana Flower ┬ęDileep Kaluaratchie