The banana, one of the world's top five fruits in production, has a natural arch to its shape and used to be called the crescent moon in Chinese. In Taiwan, it is very common to see golden fragrant bunches of bananas piled side by side in the market. Housewives in Taiwan especially enjoy buying bananas as a fruit suitable for the whole family, whether young or old alike. The banana is a fruit which can be prepared over a hundred different ways, from eating it as is to deep fried bananas to cold banana splits, it is a delicious treat. The banana is a tropical fruit, which flourishes in warm, humid climates with average temperatures hovering between 25 to 32 Centigrade degrees, and grows best at low altitudes below 500 feet above sea level where the risks of frost or typhoon damage are low, with planting of seedlings ideal from March to June each year.
Taiwan's climate is perfectly suited to this unique herb (that's right, the banana is actually a giant herb, rather than a fruit!), with the most prolific varieties consisting of the Northern Banana and Banana Goddess variety, the Northern variety having originated in the Tamshui River region of Taipei, and the Goddess variety having been developed from further refinement of the Northern variety, other varieties include the Chinese Dynasties Banana variety, the Apple Banana, the Puff Banana (as in powder puff), and the Redskin Banana variety each of which has a unique taste and appearance.
Japanese consumers especially prefer Taiwanese bananas, during the years Imperial Japan occupied Taiwan they planted lots of banana in the central regions of Taiwan for export to Japan. After 1967, Taiwan began producing large quantities of bananas in the southern stretches of the island nation with an area under cultivation of over 50,000 hectares exporting over 400,000 tons per year and thereby accruing significant foreign currency earnings for the nation and earning the well-deserved designation of Taiwan as the Banana Kingdom.
There are a large variety of banana under cultivation in Taiwan, some of which are for ornamental purposes in tropical gardens, and some of which are for orchards. Edible bananas have high sugar content, vitamins, minerals, starch, and are an excellent source of dietary potassium and zinc micronutrients among all fruits. Consumption of bananas is thought to be helpful in maintaining a good complexion, aiding in proper digestion, preventing constipation, growing healthy cardiovascular tissue, and helpful for the kidneys and the nervous system.