Monday, 25 January 2016

Pisang Emas or Lemak Manis: Which is which?

Often I see and hear the argument of which is which between pisang emas and pisang lemak manis as well as pisang lemak manis labelled as pisang emas.   When buying them, please do not press or squeeze them to as this will bruise the fruit.  You can tell the ripeness of the fruit from the appearance.

There is a difference in taste and appearance.  The pisang emas has a honey-like sweetness to it when ripe as opposed to pisang lemak manis which has a sugary sweetness to it with a subtle sour undertone.  With their smaller sizes, they are great as a breakfast fruit - one that my son loves to have - and easily finished.  Full of natural goodness and fiber.  For children, they can eat it at one go so you won't be left with half a banana to store.  It is also easy for them to hold and normally my son will have a couple of fruits.  Rich in vitamin B6 as well as magnesium and other mineral, it is great for a growing boy.  A key function of magnesium is to aid in the absorption of calcium which is critical for strong bones in my son - and for adults as well.  Amongst the important benefits of vitamin B6 that I aim for is the proper brain development and function.

When not fully ripe, the pisang emas skin has a yellowish green colour versus a light green of the pisang lemak manis.  You can see the colour at the top of the banana the colour difference.   For both varieties, when the skin has turned yellow with some areas slightly green, it is ready to be eaten and considered ripe.  If bought at this stage, the banana can last about 1 week before it becomes overly ripe.  The flesh of the bananas are yellow with pisang emas being more golden in the inside hence the name.  As it ripens, the flesh will become softer before becoming "mushy" when over-ripe where at this stage it is perfect for making cucur kodok or fried banana dumplings.
L: Pisang Emas, R: Pisang Lemak Manis

Top: Pisang Lemak Manis, Bottom: Pisang Emas
To start with, the size of the fruits are different: pisang lemak manis (average 8.5cm long) is larger than pisang emas (average 6 cm).    Pisang lemak manis also has a "rounder" appearance.  A quick check when buying is to measure it against your index finger.  If it is longer  than your index finger, it is pisang lemak manis.  If it is shorter than your index finger, it is probably pisang emas.

The skin of the pisang emas is thinner and more delicate than pisang lemak manis.  If the pisang emas is not just ripe, the skin will tend to stick to the flesh making it more difficult to peel.  Pisang lemak manis has a thicker peel so it is more forgiving.

Both the varieties are popular and not easily found in supermarkets but can be found in fruit stalls in wet markets and at the roadsides.  So, go ahead and enjoy our local either bananas which are natural and may it bring all the great health benefits with it for you :)

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