Just like Nozawas Fresh Kahuku Corn is one of the best places on the island to buy your corn, Big Mamas tropical Fruit is one of the best places on the island to get your bananas. This is a fruit stand that most tourists will never see because it is way out by Laie and the main stop in that area is the Polynesian Cultural Center and most people will get there by taking a tour bus, but if you have your own car or are a local this is the best place on the island to buy bananas.
There are a lot of good fruit stands on Oahu to purchase fresh picked fruit but Big Mamas Tropical Fruit also specializes in a variety of fresh cut bananas right off the tree. Eva, the owner of Big Mamas Tropical Fruit, is a very nice woman who will gladly tell you about the different types of bananas as well as what they are best used for. She also sells pineapples, coconuts, mangos, avocados and lilikois.
From my conversations with Eva, she sells seven different types of bananas but at the time of my visit, there were only five varieties to choose from. If you go to the pictures below, you will see what they look like. From left to right, the bananas’ names are as follows: 1. the ice cream banana, 2. the cooking banana, 3. the apple banana, 4. the Hopa banana and 5. the store banana (reason being, these are the ones you typically find at grocery stores).
There is no real set pricing for the bananas. She may charge you one price one day and then a different price the next for the same bananas. Don’t get me wrong when I say there is no set prices. This is not a bad thing because she has always given me more than my money’s worth on every visit I have had at her fruit stand. She is just somewhat flexible depending on the amount she has for sale on any given day.
At Big Mamas Tropical Fruit, they measure bananas by the term, “Hand of Bananas”. Basically, this means that each banana is like a finger and a small bunch is like a hand with many fingers. So a hand might have somewhere between 15 to 20 bananas on it but the entire bunch may have as many as 200 fingers on it. These full bunches are extremely heavy and can weigh anywhere from 80 to 130 pounds.
All the bananas are pretty cheap, with the exception of the Hopa banana. I only bought one of those just to try it since I’ve never had it before. I normally purchase her ice cream or apple bananas. The one Hopa banana cost me $2 whereas the others typically cost me about $5 for a couple of hands. She did inform me that the Hopa banana has a very special place in the Hawaiian culture and they prefer to eat them green, not yellow.
I would say that most people will probably like the ice cream, apple and regular bananas. The cooking banana and the Hopa Banana may be hit or miss. For me, I didn’t care too much for the Hopa or the cooking bananas. Though I must say, I ate the cooking banana as it was instead of cooking it and I ate the Hopa banana when the peel turned yellow so I’m sure that figures into the equation of why I wasn’t a fan of either.
Overall, I always like to stop by Big Mamas Tropical Fruit to get a few hands of bananas when I’m driving to the North Shore and have always received more than my money’s worth. Unfortunately, if you Google Big Mamas Tropical Fruit, there is virtually no online information for this fruit stand. You won’t be able to find it on Yelp either. This is about as old school as you can get. So it seems, all the locals, I’m sure, know about Big Mamas Tropical Fruit Stand and perhaps a handful of drive by tourists have really visited this almost invisible place to get some fresh fruit and some of the best bananas on the island.
I don’t know their exact location or their hours of operation but below is a map of my best guess to the location and I would think their hours are probably from 11:00am to 5:00pm, seven days a week.
Here are some photos from my visit to Big Mamas Tropical Fruit
There is no website or yelp page for Big Mamas Tropical Fruit and I do not know exactly where it is on the map, but I put a map to my best guess where this fruit stand is below.