We need only take a peek into cuisines across the globe to see that bamboo’s already made its versatile statement loud and clear. Indeed, the more we delve into other cultures and histories, we see that compared to some countries, it is North America that lags behind in the bamboo trend.
In Indonesia, bamboo stems are thinly sliced before being boiled with thick coconut milk, along with spices, to produce a dish known as gulai rebung. Pickled bamboo, a very different bamboo food product, is a condiment made from the soft pith (centre) of young shoots.
In India, bamboo stems are also used for cooking. The shoots are grated into juliennes and fermented. They become kardi, which is used in various foods, like a vegetable soup known as “amil.” It is also used for pancakes when mixed with rice flour.
In the Himalayas, the bamboo shoot, when it is in its fermented state, is used as an ingredient in a vast array of cuisines. For example, one delicacy has the fermented bamboo shoots cooked in a stew with potatoes. It’s quite a delight.
In addition, bamboo stalks can be used to make beverages. During the rainy season, the sap taken from young stalks can be fermented in order to make ulanzi, which is a sweet wine. They can also be made into soft drinks – a sweet treat for hot days and certainly a departure from East Asia’s familiar hot and sour soup!