What is a Bamboo Shoot?

Also known as Bamboo Sprouts

By 阿爾特斯 [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

The young shoot from the rhizome of certain species of bamboo, cut as soon as it appears above ground, and used as a vegetable, especially in Asian cuisine.

The shoots vary in size (up to 2kg (4.4Ib)), the flesh varies from tender and palatable to fibrous and hard and the taste also varies from sweet to bitter depending on the species. The fibrous or hard ones are better for canning or drying.

Once collected, bamboo shoots are defoliated and sliced before boiling or soaking for several days to remove toxins, then cooked as per the dish being prepared. (it will depend on the species being prepared)

Bamboo shoots are marketed fresh, dried or canned. The fresh bamboo shoots contain natural toxins found in Cassava, called cyanogenic glycosides that can only be destroyed by cooking or the process of canning. Fresh bamboo shoots should be boiled before being used in cooking.

Bamboo can be pickled, fermented and served with potato and beans, boiled with coconut milk and spices, made into curry, stir fried, or cooked with noodles or other ingredients.

Bamboo Shoots For Sale in a market

By Christian Kadluba from Vienna, Austria (/root) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Here is my favourite video on how to cook Bamboo Shoots with Coconut Milk

A List of common edible Bamboo Species

  1. Phyllostachys bambusoides Madake, Giant Timber Bamboo, Japanese Timber Bamboo
  2. Phyllostachys edulis Tortoise Shell Bamboo
  3. Bambusa blumeana Spiny Bamboo, Thorny Bamboo
  4. Bambusa oldhamii Giant Timber Bamboo


Author: Liz

I love everything food: eating, cooking, baking and travelling. I also love photography and nature.

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