Onam may be over, but the love for banana chips is an all-year-round thing, so we’re always on the hunt for the best ones. If you have any Malayali friends, you would’ve noticed that the banana chips you find in shops in Delhi and the ones your friends bring back from Kerala taste completely different.
It used to be hard to get authentic “upperi” or banana chips unless you went to Kerala, but now, you can conveniently buy them online and have them shipped. To help you choose the best ones, in this article, we’ll discuss all the factors you need to look at while shopping, and also introduce you to the top 10 best banana chips in India.
How to Choose Banana Chips in India – Buying Guide
We’re not going to claim we’re upperi connoisseurs, but we do know a few things about them to make sure we always choose the best ones.
Select the Kind of Flavour you Want
Flavour is one of the most important aspects you think about when choosing a food item; with banana chips, you usually get two, sweet or savoury.
Choose Savoury Ones if you Want to Stick to the Usual
Savoury banana chips are the most commonly available versions, especially outside South India, so when most people think banana chips, it’s the savoury kind they think of. While most savoury banana chips use only salt, there are a few products that use black pepper as well, so you have more variety.
Sweet Ones are for those Feeling Experimental or those Used to These
Jaggery covered banana chips are called “sarkara varrati” or “sarkara upperi” and they’re an essential part of festivities in Kerala. Of course, these are great for those of you who are used to them because you already know how incredibly delicious these can be if they’re done right.
They’re not as well-known amongst the non-Malayalis though, so if you haven’t tried these before and are in the mood for something new, we suggest giving this spicy, sugary snack a try. Although we must warn you, North Indians usually cannot appreciate this delicacy, so if that’s where you’re from, you might not like it as much.
Consider the Type of Oil Used to Fry Them
The type of oil used to fry the chips will determine how they smell and taste, as well as how much they cost.
Traditional Recipes Use Coconut Oil for its Distinctive Flavour
Coconuts are available in abundance in Kerala, so coconut oil has always been the obvious choice for making banana chips. It has also been favoured for its strong, distinctive flavour that works wonderfully with bananas, therefore, if you’re looking for traditional and authentic flavours, chips made with coconut oil are the way to go.
Palm Oil or Vegetable Oil is Used to Bring Down the Costs
If you’re not that concerned about the flavour of the oil and are more worried about how much the chips cost, then go for the ones that use palm oil or vegetable oil. Even though these oils lack the flavour coconut oil has, they’re much cheaper, so they end up bringing down the cost of production and help make the chips more affordable.
Choose Between Chips Made from Unripe and Ripe Bananas
Banana chips are made with both ripe bananas, as well as unripe bananas, although the latter is more popular, especially in North India. Unripe banana chips are used to make both savoury banana chips and sarkara upperi, while ripe bananas are usually only used to slightly sweeter versions of the savoury ones.
Savoury banana chips made with unripe bananas are mostly savoury with a hint of sweetness, on the other hand, savoury banana chips made with ripe bananas offer a more balanced flavour. Keep that in mind when you’re choosing between chips made from ripe and unripe bananas as they play a role in determining how the chips taste.
Check the Reviews to Know Whether They’re Crispy
The last thing you want is to open a pack of banana chips and realise that they’re soft. Banana chips need to be crispy and crunchy, just as much as they need to appropriately flavoured, so make sure you check the reviews to know whether the chips you’re interested in, meet this requirement.
If it’s Authenticity you Want, Look Up Where They’re Made
As we’ve established, banana chips have their roots in Kerala, where both “nendran” variety of bananas, as well as coconut oil, are easily available. Therefore, if you’re looking for authentic flavours, then go for products that are either made in Kerala, or at least somewhere close to it, such as Tamil Nadu or Maharashtra.
Make sure it is the place of manufacture, not packaging, that you check to know how authentic the flavours might be. Banana chips made in other parts of the country will always be a far cry from the ones made in the South because the people from these places would probably not even know what the original ones taste like.
Top 10 Best Banana Chips to Buy Online in India
We’ve told you everything that you needed to know about how you should choose banana chips, so let us now move on to our list of recommendations.
10. Garden Pepper Banana Chips
Savoury, Wafer-Thin Banana Chips for those Who Want Zero Sweetness
If you’re looking for wafer-thin banana chips that are light and crispy, then these are ones you need to go for. They’re made with unripe bananas and have a savoury black pepper and salt based flavour, which is perfect for those who do not enjoy even a hint of sweetness in their chips.
The flavour is not something everyone might appreciate though, and some may deem the thickness of these chips to be unsatisfactory too as they as much thinner than usual. Additionally, these chips are made using palm oil, so if you’re looking for ones made with coconut oil, consider one of the other products on the list.
9. Delight Foods Kerala’s Jaggery Banana Chips
Best Way to Try Sarkara Upperi Without Having to Go to the South
These are the only jaggery-covered banana chips on this list, and they’re made with coconut oil and spices such as cardamom, dry ginger powder, and jeera powder. Since they’re not easy to find outside South India, if you want to get your hands on this snack without having to travel all the way there, this is the best way to do it.
Even though these are made in Kozhikode, the flavour is not exactly the same as what you would get if you went to Kerala, so if you’ve had the real deal, you might be a bit disappointed with these. On the other hand, if you haven’t tried these before but are usually not a fan of unusual combinations, then these aren’t for you either.
8. Dakshyn Malabar Banana Chips
Thickly Cut, Black Pepper and Salt Based Chips in a Resealable Bag
Those who’re fans of thickly cut, savoury banana chips would love this option. Since these are flavoured with both black pepper and salt, they lack the usual sweetness you get with banana chips that just have salt. They come in large, resealable bag, making storage less of a hassle as well.
There are those who do not like thickly cut variants of banana chips as they’re not always as crispy as the thinner ones, so if you prefer the latter, then you would not be entirely happy with these. Furthermore, these use vegetable oil, instead of coconut oil, so if you’re looking for that distinctive flavour, then this isn’t the one for you.
7. Looms & Weaves Fresh Ripened Banana Chips
Ripened Banana Chips for those Who Prefer Slightly Sweeter Ones
The only ones on this list that are made with ripened bananas, these chips are naturally sweeter than those made with unripe bananas. They have a hint of salt, which adds a subtle layer of flavour and makes them delectable. If you’re someone who favours sweeter banana chips, then these are the ones for you.
If you’re not a fan of sweet and salty flavours then you definitely won’t enjoy these, so we’d suggest one of the others on the list. Moreover, these are a bit expensive, especially considering the amount, and if you have no idea whether you’ll even like them, they might not seem worth spending your money on.
6. Delight Foods Kerala’s Nendran Banana Chips
Savoury Chips made with Nendran Bananas but without an Overload of Salt
These are the banana chips you need to get if you’re looking for a savoury variant which isn’t loaded with salt. They’re made with unripe nendran bananas, coconut oil, and a wee bit of salt, so not only are they less salty, but you can also taste the flavours of banana and coconut distinctly.
They’re quite thinly cut though, so they break pretty easily, and there have been several cases where people received packs with most of the chips being broken. They’re also not the most economically priced option, so if you want something more budget-friendly, we suggest choosing one of the other banana chips on this list.
5. Urban Platter Kerala Banana Chips
Savoury Chips for those Who Want Slightly Thicker Cuts than Usual
These crispy banana chips are cut slightly thicker than usual, so if you enjoy having chips that are just a wee bit thicker, then these are the ones for you. They come in a resealable bag, are made with coconut oil, and are flavoured with salt, making them a delight for anyone who enjoys savoury banana chips.
They’re a bit expensive for the amount of chips you get though, so if you’re looking for more economically priced variants, we’d suggest giving one of the other options a try. There’ve also been a few cases where the chips went stale faster than they should have, so they’re only recommended for those who’ll finish them within a few days.
4. King’s Bite Fresh Kerala Banana Chips
Large Amount of Savoury Nendran Banana Chips at an Affordable Rate
If you’re looking for a big pack of nendran banana chips that won’t burn a hole in your pocket, then this is it. These crispy chips are deep-fried in coconut oil and flavoured perfectly with salt, so it is neither too little nor too much and just right to suit almost everyone’s palette.
The only issue with these chips is that although they are economically priced, a lot of the pieces, especially the ones near the bottom are broken, so if you’re looking forward to eating whole pieces of chips, then this might not meet your expectations.
3. Flavours of Calicut – Kerala Banana Chips
Banana Chips So Good that Even Malayalis Love Them
As the name suggests, these chips are made in Kozhikode, so there isn’t much to question their authenticity as they taste fresh and crispy. If you’ve been to Kerala and have been looking for banana chips that would match that level of flavour, then these are the chips for you.
They’re slightly thicker than usual, made with coconut oil, flavoured with just the right amount of salt, and even Malayalis give these chips a thumbs up for their authentic flavour. They may have seemed a bit expensive initially, but considering all of these factors, they’re well worth the cost.
2. Garden Yellow Banana Chips
Affordable and Less Oily Option to Take with you When you’re Travelling
These are banana chips you want if you’re trying them for the first time because they have a crispy texture and just the right amount of salt to balance the wee bit of sweetness from the unripe bananas. It also uses palm oil, instead of coconut, so it doesn’t have a very strong smell and it isn’t too oily either.
This is also one of the most affordable options on the market and it’s properly packaged as well, so it’s great if you need a snack to take with you when you’re on the go. Although it’s made in Maharashtra, it doesn’t compromise on the flavour, and for this economical a price tag, it’s definitely one of the best options on the market.
1. Looms and Weaves Fresh Kerala Banana Chips
Freshly Made in Kerala and Packed in Paper Bags to Keep the Flavour
The thickness of the cut, the fresh coconut oil smell, the crunchy texture, and the delicious savoury flavour, these banana chips are a winner in every aspect. If you’re looking for the best unripe banana chips on the market, then you need to give these a try.
Additionally, rather than plastic, these are packed in resealable paper bags with minimal plastic, so the flavour remains intact, Therefore, even though they’re not the cheapest product on the list, we would highly recommend these for their quality.
There are plenty of options available, but it’s important to know what makes each of them different, so you can successfully choose the best one. Once you taste authentic banana chips, you’ll realise what a huge difference there is between products you randomly select and those that you properly think about.
We hope this article helped you figure out how you should go about choosing the best banana chips for yourself and we also hope that our list of recommended products made it easier for you to get your hands on the upperi of your choice.