I am going to start with bananas. The standard American banana is tasteless in comparison to the small "mutti" variety specially available in South India (pictured above, peeled). Alternatively the large red banana has a sweet and very filling quality. Oh and the Yatham banana, or plantain, when ripe has a fleshy tone completely absent in the standard American definition of "Banana." There are even green bananas that are green when ripe! (See basket of bananas above, or leaf below).Above, bananas are served along side sweet pongal and salty pongal (rice dishes), all set atop a portion of a banana leaf that serves as a plate. The banana leaf plate is wonderfully green (literally) in that once the meal is completed, the leaf can be fed to a cow, resulting in no wastage. The meal above was presented as an offering in our family temple, as we gathered to pray for my cousin's new baby boy. After the prayer, the portions are distributed and everyone sits down to eat the "prasadam," or food that has been offered/blessed by the gods.
These multiple varieties are available in roadside stores, hung by the bunch on the original banana vine. Or, commonly, these varieties are found in family agricultural plots, and distributed to friends and family.