Taiwan Has Sweet Bamboo Shoots

JADEN TAN is all smiles holding the cleaned bamboo
shoot he harvested from his leisure farm.

Among the dishes we enjoyed during our recent visit to leisure farms in Taiwan are the bamboo shoots either cooked together with other vegetables or solo without other veggies. We were with other media people sponsored by the Taiwan Leisure Farm Developers Association.

What we remember most was the simple dish prepared by Jaden Tan of Long Yun Leisure Farm up in the mountain, more than a thousand meters above sea level, in the Alishan area in Tainan, southern Taiwan.

Mia Borromeo, a member of the Philippine media delegation, remarked she simply loved the yummy taste of Jaden’s freshly gathered Chau Kao bamboo shoot that he sautéed.

The Chau Kao bamboo shoot is markedly different from our own Kawayan Tinik bamboo shoot. The Taiwan counterpart is more slender but the tender portion is much longer. And the taste is much sweeter.

Jaden has 11 hectares planted to Chau Kao bamboo which provides him a lot of shoots to serve his tourist visitors as well as for sale in the local market.

What is good about the Chau Kao bamboo is that it is spineless so that it is very easy to harvest the bamboo shoots.

In another leisure farm up in the mountain of Taichung in Central Taiwan, the Chau Kao bamboo is not only for eating. It is a come-on for kids looking for fun and adventure. During the peak bamboo shoot season which may be in August or thereabouts, the Roll In Leisure Farm managed by Denver Wu, stages the Bamboo Kicking event. In this activity the boys compete in kicking and knocking down the harvestable bamboo shoots.

Another sweet bamboo that we also liked very much is a slender variety that may not be even one inch in diameter. The tender shoots are boiled to a soft consistency and is simply arranged in a plate and the diner picks one, dips it in a dressingof mayonnaise. It is simply sweet and tasty.
Both the Chau Kao and the slender bamboo are grown best in high altitudes. The leisure farm of Jaden and Denver Wu have about the same temperature obtaining in La Trinidad, Benguet.

A third variety of bamboo for shoot production is grown in the lowlands. The bamboo shoots are buried in a thick mulch of rice hull or some other materials such as rice straw to keep the emerging shoots underground. This way, the shoots will remain tender and light colored.

Cleaned bamboo shoots of the Chau Kau variety are long.

Shoots of the slender bamboo readyfor
 dipping in mayonnaise at a restaurant in
 the uplands of  Tainan, Taiwan.
JADEN TAN removing the sheath of the
bamboo shoot he harvested from his farm.
CHAU Kao bamboo shoots processed in a factory.
SALAD of bamboo shoot and other ingredients.
 Note banana blossom as decor. This was served

at the Daken Leisure Farm of the Tsai family.
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