You may not even know what bamboo shoots are. It is edible, and, actually very tasty.
Go to Chinatown and enjoy the seasonal exoticism.
Bamboo shoots are the babies of bamboo plant (a type of grass), which panda bears eat. Of course we should eat, too. Most local supermarkets in the U.S. sell canned, sliced bamboo shoots.
However, if you can find fresh ones, what is the point of using a canned? In Chinatown, fresh bamboo shoots are available during winter (December-March).
In Japan, another major bamboo shoots consuming and cultivating country, freshly dug bamboo shoots are spring delicacy. The ones we can find at a Chinatown in the U.S. are usually from Taiwan and slightly different specie so that it is available in winter. I found them equivalently tasteful, have no complaint at all.
How to Prepare
Surprisingly, very easy. What you need are; a large pot which is large enough to hold all the bamboo shoots you have, a spoonful of rice flour, and a few dried whole red peppers.
Put everything in a pot, fill with water so that the bamboo shoots are fully covered.
Then simmer over medium-low heat for 60-75 minutes. Add water occasionally so that the bamboo shoots are always covered.
After simmering, cover the pot and let it rest until completely cooled. It will take 3-4 hours or overnight.
Wash the bamboo shoots with cold water, then peel the skins off. You don’t need a knife for peeling.
What a gorgeous layered dress.
Cut off the tip, and trim the hard parts on the bottom.
Cut, slice or chop according to your recipe.
Enjoy the delicate, subtle sweetness and pleasant crunchy texture.
I will post an easy stir fry recipe using the bamboo shoots within a few days.
I have this recipe in Japanese, too.