We were all super excited to get into this banana flower. It looks cool and exotic for starters. I have seen banana flowers for sale before at the big Korean supermarkets, but they have never looked like they were in good condition, so I always passed on them. And interestingly enough, I have never been to a Thai, Vietnamese, or Cambodian restaurant that featured them or I would have tried them out already.
After boning up on our banana flower prep skills on YouTube—who says the Internet is not a great thing?—we peeled this flower down to expose the flowers/immature bananas at the base of each petal.
And then we kept on peeling until we got to the tender heart that we split with a knife. After removing the fibrous core, we put a fine chiffonade on the banana flower and put the bits in acidulated water to keep them from oxidizing.
The taste of the raw flower was of bitter banana rind. We were hoping that blanching would help eliminate the bitterness. Not so. This dish of Banana Flower and Shrimp Curry looks great, but none of us could get beyond the bitterness of the banana flower.
Vote: Two thumbs down. We'd eat it if another chef brought it to our table as a special treat, but we won't be ordering any for ourselves. Major let down.