Lloydminster and District Co-op has recently rolled out its Banana Turon, a Filipino delicacy which is made of pastry rolled fruit (banana traditionally) deep fried and served as either a snack or a meal. The new offering is part of its Celebrating Co-op Culture, where a team a Filipino-Canadian workers helped put up the recipe together.
Julee Ho discussed in one of her articles that the origin of the Banana Turon began in the banana-producing communities in the Philippines, where most of the harvest surplus are given to the locals to make delicacies (banana turon included) for roadside selling. Among its other names are Turon de Platano and Lumpiang Saging.
A recent literature written by Marco Sumayao further pointed out the origin of Turon as a fusion of the Chinese spring roll and the Filipinos' fondness for bananas; which could make a strong case, considering the equally-famous pansit as another product of the marriage of the neighboring cultures.
Lloydminster and District Co-op reinvention of this famous Filipino delicacy by adding its Canadian touch using caramel (maple syrup could be a nice add-on too) as drippings instead of just the traditional brown sugar took the high road without compromising the unique taste of homemade turon as a vital part of Filipino cultural identity.
Even with the continuous evolution of Filipino food technology and culinary arts, the result of having many variations of this snack/dessert deviating from the common use of banana to maximizing the potential of other tropical fruits such as ube (taro), langka (jackfruit), mangga (mango) among others has opened a floodway for many Filipino entrepreneurs back home and around the globe to capitalize on the potential of turon as a small business product, together with the world-renowned pan de sal (salted bread), ensaimada (soft buttered dough) and pan de coco (coconut bread) as evident during the pandemic.
Food in general, challenged the ingenuity and creativity of Filipino-Immigrants during the pandemic. Lloydminster alone has seen the rise of Filipino-owned homebased pastry and bakery businesses during the onslaught of SARS-COV-2.
The brave take of Lloydminster and District Co-op on turon is a welcoming gesture not only for Asian-Canadians but especially for the Filipino-Canadian community who according to the 2016 Statistics Canada Census is the second largest group of Immigrants in Lloydminster following the South Asians. It is a huge first step of putting the Filipino culture in the mainstream food market.
Having the turon on the Marketplace shelf is a groundbreaker for the Lloydminster community to finally embrace diversity and take part in inclusion made possible by a crispy and sweet fruit pastry.
The move to include turon as a new product offering created a fair playing field to better undertand the Filipino culture while endulging in every sumptous bite.
With turon being part of Celebrating Co-op Culture, one could hope that this will be a precedent for other businesses in town to recognize the contributions of immigrants who come to Lloydminster from all corners of the world by showcasing their rich culinary traditions that are unique and exceptional, distinct yet special.
And not to forget, for the turon to continue its delicious role as a game-changer in telling and re-telling stories of how abundant and flavorful is the Filipino culture.
Special thanks to Ms. Kristine Knourek, Llloydminster and District Co-op Marketing Manager for providing the photos.