Bamboo Sprouts in Northwest Vietnam

Bamboo sprouts or Mang Dang are specialty food in Northwest Vietnam. Since February to June, locals can find them easily in forests, on hills and mountainsides. Especially when it rains, more bamboo sprouts grow up. People in the regions bring fresh bamboo sprouts to local markets for selling all day in the season of Mang Dang. Bamboo sprouts have a white color, length of about 20 cm, distinctive smell, bitter and crunchy taste. They are used to cook a lot of delicious dishes: boiled, grilled, stir-fried bamboo sprouts, soups with bamboo sprouts…

Old and hard outer leaves of fresh bamboo sprouts should be removed. The inner part is cut into pieces or left whole, then boiled for a few minutes in water with a little salt to reduce bitterness. Then boiled bamboo sprouts are soaked in cold water for about one hour. The bamboo sprouts are ready to be used to cook a wide range of flavorful dishes.

Some flavorful dishes from bamboo sprouts are Soup with bamboo sprouts and pork bone, Stir-fried bamboo sprouts with fermented steamed rice (“Me”), Steamed duck/pork wrapped in bamboo sprouts.

Thai people in Northwest Vietnam usually have their meals with boiled/grilled whole bamboo sprouts dipped in salt chili dip or “Cham Cheo” – a special sauce made from spearmint, michelia mediocris dandy seed, chili pepper, salt. The perfect blend of “Cham Cheo” and boiled/grilled bamboo sprouts make sure that dinner falls in love with the food. Most restaurants in Northwest highland of Vietnam serve Boiled whole Mang Dang with “Cham Cheo”. Anyone that has been in Northwest highland of Vietnam and had a chance to try this simple but outstanding food would love to eat them again.

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