The Panda’s Favourite Food

is something people enjoy eating as well, especially in Asia.

Bamboo leaves.

Bamboo leaves. From Cornstock Images.

Bamboo is an extremely industrious plant.  Some have been known to grow up to a metre a day, and forests of this ambitious grass can pop up in no time after a refreshing monsoon.  Bamboo, when fully mature is a surprisingly sturdy material.  Fashioned into tools, garments, furnishings and even structures, bamboo has not only been a survival material for small ethnic groups in many parts of Asia, but also possess enormous commercial potential as a  more sustainable substitute for many organic raw materials.

These strong bamboo culms, however, are not fit for eating.  Instead, the tender shoots of young culms, fresh from the earth, are.

Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots. In around a week, they can reach up to 7-8 metres. Photo by Kiyoshi Ryokuen, from Sebun Photo.

From Indonesia and China to Uganda, these sweet edible shoots star in a vast array of different dishes.  The shoots are commercially available fresh or canned, and sometimes already prepared.

canned bamboo shoots

Canned bamboo shoots. They will look pale yellow and slightly limp, but will still have a subtle crisp crunch.

Here’s a link to videos about bamboo shoots being harvested and cooked: http://www.youtube.com/user/ssakamoto#p/u/2/XSfb3cm3ON8 (you’ll have to navigate a little to find all of them, but they’re quite interesting and informative – Thanks, ssakamoto).  Following are a small collection of images (sourced from a number of food blogs and websites) depicting bamboo shoots cooked in different ways:

sourbamboosoup

Sour bamboo soup. Image from khatiya-korner.com.

bamboo in stirfry

Bamboo is a common ingredient in stir-fries. Image from myfeasts.blogspot.com.

ramen

It's often spotted in ramen also. Image from Tohoku Colour Agency.

A spicey Indonesian dish, gulai rebung dan udang.  Image from agsmat.net.

A spicey Indonesian dish, gulai rebung dan udang. Image from agsmat.net.

pickled bamboo shoots

Pickled bamboo shoots. Image from kungfueats.com.

bamboo and pork

Bamboo and minced pork, regarded somewhat as a Chinese classic. Image from sundaynitedinner.com.

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2 Comments

Filed under Japan & Asia, Uncategorized

2 responses to “The Panda’s Favourite Food

  1. Here’s some video of some friends and I digging up bamboo shoots with some info on how to cook them.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/ssakamoto#p/u/7/Fi60k3fnOI8

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