Several edible varieties are used in Laos. The photographs show bamboo species naw lan (Sirundinaria microphylla) and naw van (Dendrocalamus hamiltonii) on sale in Ban Khone market in Luang Namtha.
Fresh shoots need to be boiled and shredded before frying with meat, most commonly pork. Add them to soups and stews. Some shoots can be bitter. The addition of yanang leaf juice to a recipe reduces the bitterness.
Fat, new shoots that have been teased apart with a needle may be stuffed with pork. Shoots can be pickled with salt. After fermenting, they are used in soup with fish and pork. Villagers boil and sun dry shoots to sell to restaurants or companies for export. It is one way the forest provides cash income for subsistence farmers.
When preparing fresh bamboo shoots, wear gloves to avoid their spiky hairs while removing the outer leaves. A twisting motion helps pull off in one
piece. What remains is the fresh, cream-coloured shaft. If the shoot base is dry, chop it off. Cut the bamboo in vertical sections. Put in a pot, top with water and bring to the boil. Let boil for 5 minutes, then remove the bamboo. Throw out the water which will be bitter from the shoots’ hydrocyanic acid. Repeat twice. The bamboo is now ready for use. Certain types of shoots do not need this priming when they are fresh, very young and fast-growing with a low acid content. They can be cut to size as required by the recipe and used straight away.
For tinned bamboo shoots, it is best to buy whole or halved shoots rather than pre-sliced, which have been exposed to more processing. Rinse well and cut in pieces to suit the recipe. Both blanched and tinned bamboo can be stored in the refrigerator for a week covered with water in a closed container, providing the water is changed daily.
Bamboo shoots, large, sweet ໝໍ່ໄມ້ຫວານ naw mai waan
Treat as above. These bamboo shoots are mild and sweet-tasting.