One of the things you learn rather quickly when you are with Vietnamese people is how to peel a banana!
This is a very serious subject as it separates ignorants from people with a sense for Vietnamese culture
And, of course, there is a difference in how people from Southern Vietnam and Northern Vietnam peel their bananas.
Regardless of the fact that there are more than 100 different kinds of bananas here (in all different kinds of sizes and tastes), they have one thing in common (in Northern Vietnam):
you break them in half before you peel them
The saying used to be: only Americans and monkeys peel a banana from top to bottom and then eat it. (Now that we have a lot of European tourists as well the phrase “Americans” has been reworded
I did a lot of research into why you would break a banana in two before you would peel it. Obviously, this tradition is so old that there are very few articles about it.
The “oldest” view is that it was not decent to show such phallic symbol as a banana entirely naked. Another (more pragmatic) thinking is that you would not want to touch the banana with your dirty hands and so you peeled it section for section while eating it.
I go for the phallic symbol! In addition, I find it a cultivated twist to break your banana in two pieces before you peel it (not as easy as you think it is, because it requires a certain wrist movement)…
…and where would you start peeling it from? The blossom or the root side? Hehe, got you! Where is the blossom side of the banana? Well, I am not gonna tell ya. Check the internet!