Thursday, July 31, 2008

Super Bon!: Jufran

The other day I was fondly remembering Pambiche, my favorite Portland Cuban joint, wishing there was something comparable in LA. Dreaming about their tangy avocado salad, Plato Communista, and sugar cane garnished Palm Beach Coolers (fresh mint and fruit filled white sangria), I then remembered the condiment that occupied every tabletop. The narrow tapered red bottlecould have been Heinz 57 at a glance.. But oh, this was not ketchup. I think half of Pambiche's devoted following must have come for this condiment called Jufran, the perfect pair to a warm basket of tostones (twice-fried green plantains).
What is it? Well you wouldn't believe me if I told you.. Though the Filipino condiment is also known as banana sauce. That's right, this spicy red "ketchup" is made from bananas! Not nearly as vinegary as ketchup and with a pleasant kick (I prefer the "spicy" variety), Jufran is a sassy alternative, and dare I say more versatile than it's American cousin.
Yes, I decided I must find a way to get Jufran here in LA. I remembered that Pambiche used to sell bottles of it for like $6, but not recalling what the stuff was called at first went online in search of a shiny new bottle of my very own. I found it first on but it was out of stock, and on every other import food store it was going to cost me triple the cost in shipping (and $12 for one bottle is not cool). I turned to Yahoo! Answers, but the people who responded must have been on major ludes or not reading my question right. But one person said Thai and/or Filipino specialty stores might actually carry it. With one call to Bangkok Market (a block from my house), I had found my sauce! Even more insane was that a regular sized bottle there cost me 85 cents! Yess!
Now all my friends know what they're getting for the holidays this year.. A tangy new taste bud adventure!


  1. I would kill for a Palm Beach cooler right about now. Like....literally kill.

  2. Safeway carries it too. As well as most Asian supermarkets. I found this post while looking for recipes. I was also introduced to it at the same Portland restaurant.

  3. Awesome! I love it! Such a clever and unique idea to give Banana Sauce for xmas!!! You are brilliant! I will have to pay Pambiche a visit and report back to you.