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Taiwan goes bananas over its favorite fresh fruit

Exhibition at Taipei's Huashan 1914 Creative Park looks at history and uses of popular fruit

Yellow Lamborghinis at the "GO BANANAS" exhibition in Taipei. (Taiwan News photo)

Yellow Lamborghinis at the "GO BANANAS" exhibition in Taipei. (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The opening ceremony for the 2021 GO BANANAS exhibition (台灣好蕉情) was held at Huashan 1914 Creative Park on Friday (April 16).

Given the goal of promoting knowledge and celebrating the history of local bananas, the expo presents both products and art made from bananas. The slogan “GO BANANAS” derives from the idea of "banana fever" and monkeys going crazy about the fruit.

The exhibition also features an old-fashioned record player and other Instagrammable setups. Parked yellow Lamborghinis with trunks filled with fresh bananas represent the prosperity of Taiwan’s banana industry. The cars are provided by banana farmer scion Dick Chang (陳壽山).

GO BANANAS is hosted by the Taiwan Banana Research Institute (TBRI) in collaboration with Taiwan Sugar Corporation, NAN ART, and the Cultural & Creativity Development Foundation. Founded in 1970 and based in Jiuru Township, Pingtung County, the TBRI is dedicated to promoting Taiwan’s banana industry.

The TBRI is known for developing six disease-resistant varieties. It has helped numerous local farmers mass-produce disease-resistant banana trees.

Taiwan's world-leading banana expertise has led to many collaborations with other countries, such as Australia. Once called the "pride of Taiwan," the nation's bananas were world-famous during the golden era of the banana industry in the 1960s and '70s.

According to TBRI Director Chu-Yin Chiou (邱祝櫻), Japan used to rely on Taiwan for its banana imports, and this helped boost Taiwan’s economy. “I was poor,” said Dick Chang, “but bananas saved my family and made me who I am.”

Nowadays, with the rise of cheaper alternatives in countries such as Ecuador, Taiwan's bananas are mainly sold domestically. Sports stars love them, and they are eaten by tennis players and marathon runners to boost endurance.

They are also said to heal depression and mend broken hearts. Additionally, the fruit can be made into clothes (made from banana fibers), soap (from the peel), and tea (from banana flowers).

The exhibition is free and open every day from April 16 to May 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information check out the website.

Updated : 2021-05-11 22:34 GMT+08:00