West Ashley restaurant Hubee D's is earning fans with crispy buttermilk fried chicken, but dessert fiends keep going back for its take on another Southern staple: banana pudding.
Co-owner Dana Sinkler did his research before deciding on a dessert to feature on the menu. He spent some time sniffing around the fair, where they "fry everything under the sun," for inspiration. It was only natural for him to develop a unique version of a recipe he's already perfected — the classic banana pudding he serves at his Mt. Pleasant restaurant Just Fresh.
"I knew I wanted fried banana pudding," Sinkler says. "I started with the pudding itself, which is kinda messy, as you can imagine. Then I ended up just frying the bananas, making them like banana beignets."
The fried bananas surround a pool of cool, creamy vanilla pudding topped with crisp vanilla wafers, caramel, chocolate, and powdered sugar.
"Basically it's a deconstructed banana pudding," Sinkler says. "The vanilla wafers go on last minute so they're crunchy. Normally they're soft and squishy when they're within the vanilla pudding, so this gives it a nice contrast."
This rich dessert is definitely meant for sharing — we were given three forks even though there were only two of us. Inside the warm, crispy fried dough, the banana chunks are soft and gooey. The pudding cools the fresh-from-the-fryer nuggets, while the wafers add an extra layer of sweetness and texture. Top it off with caramel and chocolate, and you've got a Southern sweets explosion on your hands.
After a meal of French fries and fried chicken, fried bananas might seem like a bit much, so Hubee D's offers a slightly lighter version of the dessert. The Banana Pudding Ice Cream pops ($1.99) come with the kids' baskets or can be ordered solo. They also serve a house-made ice cream sandwich ($1.29).
While Sinkler considers the "famous" fried banana pudding one of Hubee D's signature dishes, he says he'll eventually add more desserts to the menu — and you can bet they'll be just as innovative.
"It's exciting to stumble upon something that's been around for so long and then to be able to refine it and make it your own," Sinkler says.