giant timber bamboo

Bamboo shoot

Bamboo shoots are the edible shoots (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) of bamboo species Bambusa vulgaris and Phyllostachys edulis. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned versions.

Local names

Bamboo shoot tips are called zhú sǔn jiān () or simply sǔn jiān () in Chinese, although they are mostly referred to as just sǔn (筍). In Vietnamese bamboo shoots are called măng and in Japanese as take no ko (竹の子 or 筍). In Assam, they are referred to as gaz and in Nepal as tama (Nepali: तामा). In Jharkhand they are known as sandhna. In Indonesian they are known as rebung. In the Philippines they are most popularly known as labong.


In Indonesia they are sliced thinly and then boiled with santan (thick coconut milk) and spices to make a dish named gulai rebung. Other recipes using bamboo shoots are sayur lodeh (mixed vegetables in coconut milk) and lun pia (sometimes written lumpia: fried wrapped bamboo shoots with vegetables). Note that the shoots of some species contain cyanide that need to be leached or boiled out before they can be eaten safely. Slicing the bamboo shoots thinly assists in this leaching.

In certain parts of Japan, China and Taiwan the giant timber bamboo Ryoku-chiku (Bambusa oldhamii) is harvested in spring or early summer, and after slicing and boiling this is also edible. This bamboo has a very acrid flavor and should be sliced thin and boiled in a large volume of water several times. B. oldhamii is more widely known as a non-invasive landscaping bamboo.

Pickled bamboo, used as a condiment, may also be made from the pith of the young shoots.

In Assam, bamboo shoots are part of the traditional cuisine. In Jharkhand they are used in curries and commonly as a pickle.

In Nepal, they are used in famous dishes for centuries. A popular dish is Tama (fermented), with आलु (Potato), बोडी (Beans). An old popular song in Nepali features tama as "आलु बोडी तरकारी तामालाई मन पर्ने हाम्रो आमा लाइ" which means, "my mother loves vegetable of recipe containing Potato, Beans, and Tama".

In Vietnamese cuisine, shredded bamboo shoots are used alone or with other vegetable as stir-fry vegetables in many dishes; and as a lonely main vegetable ingredient in pork chop soup.

In Philippine cuisine, they are called "Labong".

See also



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