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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Icon: Dried Bananas

As Soviet children of the 1980s recall, up until the early '90s bananas existed in only two forms: green and dried. Green bananas elusively circulated in vegetable stores, and news of their sudden appearance was spread by word of mouth, quickly causing long lines to form. Happy banana customers gingerly wrapped their banana bunches in newspapers and placed them under the bed to expedite their transition from starchy potato-like form to something more edible. Children would poke their noses into the stash every day to check on the ripening progress.

Dried bananas were the more widely available treat, frequently sold in small packages with the yellow star from the flag of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Although they were called sushyoniye banany, they don't resemble the dehydrated banana chips in modern dried fruit mixtures. Together with imported flip-flops (which were nicknamed vietnamki), these brown, finger-sized treats epitomized Soviet-Vietnamese friendship and raised much curiosity about what fresh bananas may possibly look like. Sticky dried bananas were in high esteem among hikers for their calorie density (245Kcal per 100 grams).

Today, their modest packaging can occasionally be found in select vegetable kiosks, with various brands including Vietcong (pictured) available for 15 rubles a pack.