Depending on the language, saba can mean any of three different things. In Italian, saba refers to reduced grape must, a by product of wine production that can be used as a sauce or a condiment.
In Japanese, saba is the word for mackerel, one of the prized "oily" fishes in Japanese cooking. To accentuate the flavor, it's usually marinated first in vinegar.
|Ok, not really mackerel - this is boquerones (anchovies) nigiri maki from Uchi Houston, but it's a similar presentation for mackerel.|
And then, there's the fruit - saba refers to a variety of edible banana endemic to Philippines. Seldom eaten raw, it's a cooking variety. Like the plantain, it has different properties when cooked unripe or ripe.
|The saba banana. Note the stubby, squared off look.|
|Stacks of saba bananas ready for market.|
|Deep fried saba bananas. Subtly sweet, somewhat starchy with a lemony finish, the saba banana has a distinctive and delicious flavor of its own, and is an important staple fruit for Filipinos.|