Bamboo Shoots

primarily Phyllostachys species and Bambusa species


Also chuk sun, tung sun (winter bamboo), chun sun (spring bamboo) in Chinese markets; takenoko (Japanese)

Some people think of bamboo as one type of plant, but its multiplicity is mind-boggling. Some taxonomists count as many as 1,250 species. The two most common genera called bamboo, Bambusa and Phyllostachys, contain at least 175 species. Most bamboos have edible shoots. The size, shape, and quality of bamboo depend not only on the species but also on the time of year when it is harvested. Spring bamboo shoots, according to Charmaine Solomon’s Encyclopedia of Asian Food, are chunky and pale, while winter shoots are “a daintier, more elongated shape, finer in texture, deeper in colour, and have a distinctive flavour.”

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