06 Jul2012

Just got back from a very interesting, but hot and humid visit to Arranque Market in Binondo Manila. Was searching for more quail, and found some interesting things (post on the market up soon) including these greens, that the vendor said were “bamboo shoots” but I have no idea if that’s right or not. I have never seen them before, or never paid attention enough to notice them before.

I am more familiar with bamboo shoots that look like this, so this was intriguing to say the least. They kind of have a similar fragrance to fresh bamboo shoots, so I am wondering if they come from a different type of bamboo, if these are almost bamboo leaves not the hearty trunk… If you know, please leave me a comment. I can’t seem to find them in any of my Asian vegetable reference books. Many thanks in advance!



  1. Mimi says:

    They look like baby bamboo shoots. Although the ones I’ve bought here do not have the green outer leaves. Maybe need to peel? I use them just stir fried with oyster sauce and some other veggies. Or add to hot and sour soup. Or minced with homemade dumpling filling.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 1:53 pm


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  3. ami says:

    They look more like leeks to me. Have you tried unpeeling some of the green leaves to look at what’s inside? Maybe a cut down the middle might give us more clues.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:02 pm

  4. ros says:

    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:06 pm

  5. dhanggit says:

    I think they are what you call jiao bai sun or wild rice shoots a seasonal vegetable from China that people often mistaken as bamboo shoots. Recipes include stir-frying them with some meat like pork and other seasoning :-) I had a chinese friend who cooked one time this vegetable to me when I was student long time ago .Goodluck with your cooking!

    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:08 pm

  6. Mimi says:

    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:13 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    dhanggit, jiao bai sun, yes, that sounds like what was written on one of the plastic bags at the store near these “shoots”… hmmm, getting warmer it seems… ros, THANKS for those links… so interesting!

    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:13 pm

  8. Marketman says:

    Yay! THEY ARE Wild Rice Shoots… Zizania aquatica L. Also known as gaau sun in China. “The edible young shoots of a grain crop known in the West as wild rice. It is grown from Japan, through central China, to the Indochinese countries and Northern India… they resemble young sugarcane or underdeveloped ears of corn. They can be steamed, boiled, baked or sliced and stir-fried.” — from The Encyclopedia of Asian Food and Cooking by Jacki Passmore.

    So, all of the vendors saying they were bamboo shoots were technically incorrect. They are Wild Rice Shoots. Cool. Thanks everyone. That was quick. I love this group of readers, so helpful! :)

    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:23 pm

  9. Cecile says:

    wow! those rice shoots looks wonderful! my first time to see pics and learn of wild rice shoots…i also thought of “rabong” when i saw the 1st pic :)

    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:38 pm

  10. ros says:

    YAY!! Scientific name!!


    Found a picture of the whole plant:


    and serving suggestion, lol


    No prob. MM I myself always enjoy these “What are these…” posts. Very informative and fun, feels like a grown up version of this game:



    Jul 6, 2012 | 2:39 pm

  11. linda says:

    The vietnamese uses this vegie in their dish called “canh chua”. It’s a dish similar to our sinigang.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 4:34 pm

  12. me-ann says:

    They are bamboo shoots. You peel the “husk” and I also use a peeler to peel the lower part of the shoot (light green color). You sliced it thinly (diagonal) and you saute it with mushroom, onions, sliced porkloin (lomo) or chicken. It doesn’t have any flavor so you can add soy sauce, oyster sauce, salt or other spices…flavor it according to your liking.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 7:07 pm

  13. pixienixie says:

    Honestly, I haven’t heard about wild rice shoots until this post! @_@

    Jul 6, 2012 | 7:14 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    me-ann, a lot of folks call them “bamboo shoots” but the more I read, the more I am convinced they are wild rice shoots, as in this link, and many others when you google “wild rice shoots” instead of bamboo shoots…

    Jul 6, 2012 | 7:50 pm

  15. EbbaBlue says:

    Yes and no for the bamboo shoots – for they are locally called “water bamboo shoots”. Wild rice is more confusing for the real variety of wild rice is so far different from these. They are all from the grass family though.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 8:15 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    EbbaBlue, maybe we can re-name them “large wild grass shoots”… :)

    Jul 6, 2012 | 9:10 pm

  17. Mary Lee says:

    They look like tough leeks.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 9:15 pm

  18. betty q. says:

    …..got any lechon flakes, MM? On second thought, what am I saying…of course, you do!

    That thinly sliced stir fried wild rice shoots with garlic, oyster sauce and a pinch of sugar would make an excellent filling for a sticky rice roll…you have to have 4 fillings…such as lechon flakes, seasoned shitaki mushrooms done like the wild rice shoots, then as a sub, use the wild rice shoots, tea eggs, seasoned tofu, stir fried edamame, SISIG, sliced cooked longganisa and whatever else strikes your fancy!

    Now, cook malagkit or pirurutong with a pinch of salt. I like half and half ….but cook them separately. Now on clean bimpo wrapped in plastic wrap…scoop about 1 cup of the cooked rice…spread it out thinly ( about 8 to 10 inches in diameter)…put your fillings totalling about 1 to 1 /2 cups in center and spread it out but not too far out. Then just form into a pocket like a tight ball and roll it out like a giant suman.

    I don’t know if anyone is already selling the same thing there. Here 1 roll is about $4 including tax! But the filling is more Chinese or Taiwanese inspired and I have resorted to making my own for the boys can easily chow down 2 each! I use the pork floss, stir fried shitaki or oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced snow peas guisado, seasoned tofu, thinly sliced 5 spice beef shank and Taiwanese longganisa. Of course, you can be as creative as you would like with the filling

    MP…you have to try making that sticky rice roll! It is soooooo MASARAP! Best eaten while still warm!

    Jul 6, 2012 | 9:37 pm

  19. EbbaBlue says:

    Yey, hoorray for Ms Betty, came up with such a delectable recipe again. Must try this on Sunday. Thanks a bunch.

    I bought these shoots months ago in an Asian market, akala ko talaga sariwang labong, I cooked it in ginataan manok.. sarap… hihihihi, iba pala ito. I did not find it afterwards.. cguro may panahon lang ito hina-harverst.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 9:45 pm

  20. rosedmd says:

    i saw that in a Chinese channel, it’s like leeks but not, it grows in watery soil that has some other plant that looks like rice stalk. the hosts harvests that, cleaned, ate it raw.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 10:49 pm

  21. Joni says:

    Oh wow! We purchased some of those for R&D. (Also, at Binondo) Turns out they’re not bamboo shoots?! HAHA I need to tell the people at work. What a dumb moment for all of us. I guess you can’t really trust the vendors all the time. Cool. Learned something new today.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 11:21 pm

  22. millet says:

    i’ve never seen those! MM, please tell us how you cooked it and how it tasted.

    Jul 6, 2012 | 11:48 pm

  23. natie says:

    Wow!! we do learn something new still–

    Jul 7, 2012 | 1:51 am

  24. Duds says:

    Wow. I love greens. And those great photos starve me!

    Jul 7, 2012 | 3:44 am

  25. PITS, MANILA says:

    more interested now on how to cook them … wild rice shoots …

    Jul 7, 2012 | 7:19 am

  26. Raph says:

    Very interesting! I will be on the lookout for this next time I hit the market. Arranque is just a stone’s throw away from where I live. :)

    Jul 7, 2012 | 8:34 am

  27. MP says:

    Hi Bettyq, I love biko so I will give your sticky rice roll recipe a try. I just hope it comes out well otherwise the hubby will tease me again :-)

    Jul 7, 2012 | 12:00 pm

  28. betty q. says:

    MP…that sticky rice roll is a good way to use leftovers! The trick is not to overstuff it para it is easy to seal. I know…I myself have a tendency often to overstuff sometimes esp. when I am doing the last roll thinking sayang the filling if I don’t use it all up in the last one.

    But to make it more chi-chi, give it a name, MP! I taught my sister back home how to do this. So, what I have done is make fillings which are suited for a particular cuisine. I even gave her names to go with it. For instance…I told her to make curried chicken but more on the dry side, or potato masala and call the roll …potato masala ….another one is Tuscan roll…filled with caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers thinly sliced and smoked chicken (house smoked preferably) but if none, grilled or charcoal grilled chicken will do…flaked or thinly sliced. Do you have leftover mechado? …flake them, add oven dried tomatoes, caramelized onions and potatoes or cous cous and call it Lebanese. As I have said…go crazy on your fillings and give it a name.

    But our house favorite is the one I mentioned above with the stir fried mushrooms, flavoured tofu, pork floss, and tea eggs and snow peas guisado.

    Jul 8, 2012 | 1:28 am

  29. des says:

    Hi! Such a coincidence…my dad just bought a pack of those and asked me to cook them. Hmm..I didn’t know what they were and he didn’t either. “They just looked good”. After a few tries (in stir-frying), this seemed to work best for us: slice off the green part, remove the outer skin as it’s almost inedible, slice the remaining fat white stalk thinly and stir-fry with shrimp and garlic. I tried using the green part to impart some flavor in soups and other stir-fries, but it didn’t really add anything. Let us know how yours turn out! Thanks! :)

    Jul 8, 2012 | 11:23 pm

  30. Roseannecres says:

    My favorite (and simplest) way to cook this shoot – slice shoot into thin strips. Similarly slice red and green peppers into thin strips.

    Heat wok, put oil (a bit more than usual), lightly sautee minced garlic then add green and red pepper strips for 30 or so seconds then add the shoots. I usually just season with salt then it’s all good (chicken powder can be added for more flavor)

    I like the combined crunchiness of the peppers and shoots and it actually allows for the vegetable flavor / freshness to just come through.

    Jul 10, 2012 | 7:54 am

  31. marisse javier says:

    Learned something new today….thanks MM

    Jul 10, 2012 | 9:01 am

  32. Marketman says:

    Roseannecres, thanks for that recipe, will have to try it the next time I find these wild rice shoots…

    Jul 11, 2012 | 1:23 pm

  33. ysoc says:

    They are water bamboos. You are supposed to peel off the green outer layers (I see you’ve chopped the green layers off. No, the green bits are not edible as they are very tough). Keep on peeling until you end up with the white flesh in the middle. There are many ways of cooking it: 1. roll-cut into chucks(cut diagonally, and keep rolling the water bamboo by about 45 degrees before you cut the next piece), stir-fry in a generous amount of oil, then add some light soy sauce and a sprinkle of sugar. Put lid on, braise on low heat, stir every 2-3 minutes until the sauce almost evaporates. Try not to add any water when braising, so choose a low sodium soy sauce. 2. finely shred the water bamboo. Stir fry in oil, then add several beaten eggs. Cook as if you’re making an omelette. when egg is set, break into chunks. These are two of my favourite ways of eating water bamboo,typical home cooking of Shanghai region.

    Jul 16, 2012 | 5:01 pm

  34. David B says:

    beautiful photos. the green stalks come alive set against the chopping board. ;-)

    Jul 25, 2012 | 11:08 am

  35. Cristy says:

    Hi MM! Thanks to this post I finally have an answer to a big question I had just this past Sunday. As usual, I went to the farmers’ market early Sunday morning and came across what looked like leeks only I knew those weren’t leeks. I still don’t know how to converse in Mandarin (even after two years in China which is a shame but I haven’t found the need to do so) so I obviously cannot ask the vendor. I still bought them anyway because it was the first time I came across this green vegetable and I love greens in my food. I chopped one whole piece and added it to a mix of ground beef, potatoes, carrots, chervil, bok choi, and celery just as I was about to turn the heat off. I like them crunchy!

    Thanks to you and to the many readers who helped, I now know my wild rice shoots! :)

    Sep 25, 2012 | 10:27 pm


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