Food from Nature, Bamboo shoots

When I visited my neighbor’s nursery bed last week, I saw that the bamboo shoot is in season, this is what I called foods from nature, and it’s free from any type of pesticide, and really FREE because they are grown in the forest back in Laos.  But in the US, those that have big land would grow it themselves, but the idea of growing bamboo in our yard can create a problem, they’re hard to tame and we’ve all heard the term bamboo running a muck before.


I knew that there are bamboo trees at the temple, it’s located in the back garden, I’ve roamed the temple ground many times last year taking pictures of the Buddhist monk’s garden.  Mae Tou Gaisorn asked us to help her count the money tree, and said that the bamboo shoots are coming out, that the monk wanted them removed, and she’d take us back there to get it. This is one way to tame the bamboo from spreading, the shoots if not removed would become bamboo trees.  The monk planted about 2 or 3 bamboo trees 10 years ago, and now it’s a forest. When we were living in Laos, my mom would go into the forest to harvest the bamboo shoots, and the ones that you’ve to walk pass the cemetery, most people are afraid of ghost so there were plenty and she’d bring my sisters along, this was before I was born.

Look at all these bamboo shoots…

Bamboo shoot Bamboo shoots

My second sister even went inside the bamboo trees area, luckily they don’t have thorns like the bamboo trees in Laos and Thailand.

getting the bamboo shoots

got the bamboo shoot

My younger sister on the other hand was digging the bamboo trees to take home to grow, not as easy as she thought, but whilst she was at it, we all asked her to dig some for us as well, there are 4 of us that went.

digging up the bamboo trees

I think she broke a sweat…actually she was soaking wet.

bamboo trees

Mae Tou Gaisorn worked hard getting her bamboo shoots, she peeled off the cover so it wouldn’t be too heavy for her to carry.  She stays at the temple to help out, so this would be the next day’s meal for the monks.

Mae tou Gaisorn

It was a lot of fun, Mae Tou Gaisorn enjoyed our company, and we got quiet a bit of bamboo shoots.

Bamboo shoots

When I got home on Sunday, I planted my bamboo trees, the only space I’ve for them are these 2 pots, I don’t want it to spread to my neighbor’s yard and planting in pot is another way to tame the bamboo trees from spreading.

Bamboo trees

My second sister made us Bamboo soup today.

Bamboo soup

And you can also use the bamboo to make KaoLarm, a sticky rice dessert.

You’d use this part.



  1. I like my keang naw mai(bamboo soup) with lots of pukayang and brisket beef. First time I see shrimp in keang naw mai I must admit. I think shrimp would be over cook and a little tough.

    • Dallas, I think my second sister must have followed my mom’s recipe but my mom chopped her shrimps into small pieces. I also like Pakayang on mine, but never had it with brisket beef before, sounds like Kang Keelek to me.

      When I was in Laos, my relative prepared her bamboo soup with crickets that she purchased from Boun That Luang, it smells funny and I only ate the bamboo shoots, i thought it’d taste a lot better without the crickets or buffalo dung beetles.

      • Brisket is awesome you should try it. Try it using cornbeef instead of plain brisket. Oh, don’t forget oyster mushroom. You can’t go wrong with oyster mushroom. It is good in everything.

        • Thanks Dallas, I had to look at flickr to see what the oyster mushroom looks like, do you buy them fresh or the can kind?

  2. Oh wow!!! lots of bamboo nor… hen la yark kin kang nor mai va:-) I thought about planting some bamboo on my backyard too. But my landscape architect buddy talks me out of it. I never seen that much of bamboo out here in CA. You must be out on the eastcoast huh Ginger?

    • seeharhed, I live in the Southeastern part of the US; in North Carolina and many Lao people here just plant them, some without thinking how fast it could spread, and in some cases, it spreads to the neighbor’s yard.

      When we asked the monk to take some bamboo plants home to plant, he said go ahead because there are plenty, then he *shook his head* and smiled, he said, “our ancestor taught us not to plant bamboo near the house because it’ll show up in the neighbor’s yard, lots of headache but we don’t listen.” See back in Laos, that’s how you determine where your land is by looking at the things that you planted, and if your bamboo tree is at your neighbor’s yard, then you’d claim that it’s your land, the bamboo trees determines the property line, this happened to my dad before.

      • Ginger, I was going to guess that you probably live in NC. I’ve been to NC few times and saw alot of bamboo trees at most laotian folks. Yes! bamboo will grow out of control and that’s one of thing I decide not to plant some at my backyard. Bamboo hard floor looks nice though :-).

        • seeharhed, my sisters were talking about planting it in their yard, but I talked them out of it. I think my dad might pour huge concrete walls in his yard to prevent it from run a muck into the neighbor’s yard, but he thought it would cost about $400 and knowing my dad, he’ll get it done eventually.

  3. wow, what a small world.. I don’t know if you know him personally or not, but I noticed that Boon Vong is on your blogroll. My sister’s wedding is on his blog… He was there taking photos of it. I didn’t meet him personally, but I saw him doing his thing. Very cool. 😀

    • lady0fdarkness, I don’t know him at all, but like his work. I saw the wedding picture from FL, that’s your sister? looks like a big wedding, I’ve only heard you talk about your older sister, I’m sure she is not the one.

  4. Ginger, this post is making my mouth watering. I like the taste of bamboo shoots. I want that bamboo shoot soup now.

    • Thanks K, you sound like my sisters in NYC, I made this post mainly for them. The soup was good, but it’s not as thick as the way my mom had made them, I really like it and need to learn how to make this.

      • HAHAHA, thanks for sharing the photo of your dog. He is soooo cute. One day, you should talk about him too in your blog.

        • K, you’re welcome. My blog is somewhat weird, I think his sleeping position will top anything posted here. 🙂

  5. I have three sisters. I’m mostly talking about my eldest sister who comes over a lot. The sister that had wedding is my second eldest sister. She lives in Georgia. Yes, it was a pretty big wedding.. about 300 guests from all over the nation.

    The food was good. 😀

    • lady0fdarkness, I love attending Lao weddings because of the food, the last wedding I went to 3 weeks ago, she was married to an African American man and it was an elaborate American wedding with fancy sit down dinner, the food was good, but I kept missing Lao/Thai food.

  6. Bamboos are great. They are a very environmentally friendly plant. They grow fast, can be turn into fabrics and much more!

    I’ve heard that you can prevent bamboo from spreading by putting a barrier underground. It’s suppose to prevent the roots from spreading.

    Btw, everyone looks like they are really enjoying the bamboo shoot hunt. 🙂

    • Cambree, my dad is thinking about putting a barrier underground, I think he is brainstorming of how to get it done because my second sister wants to plant it in their yard, they’ve a bigger land than me, 2x the size of my backyard so I’m looking forward to seeing bamboo growing there.

      It was fun, my sisters in NYC want to go bamboo hunt when they come down for July 4th week, I think it brought back childhood memories of living in Laos and Thailand for most of us. 🙂

  7. Several years ago, I thought about planting some bamboo in my backyard seeing how nice looking it was down the street in my neighbor’s yard. After telling my mother about my plan she said it was bad luck. (This was way before the popularity of the “Lucky Bamboo” plant – By the way…it is not really a bamboo plant) .
    I didn’t asked her to elaborate and never went through with the plan not because I was afraid of the “bad luck” omen rather I was afraid the wraith of my Home Association. I began to research about bamboo plants and find out that the bamboo plant will spread quickly if it is not grow in a container or have a sort of barrier. Maybe this was the “bad luck” my mom was referring to.

    • Dallas, I think your mom must have talked about the same thing, people actually fight over the land because of the bamboo, the person that planted the trees would say that it’s his/her land because the bamboo tree being on the other person’s land.

  8. I personally think there are more things you can do with bamboo shoots than Bubba can do with shrimps. Heck, you can mix it with all kinds of meat, wrap with banana leaf and steam it, you can boil it and dip it in hot sauce, pickle it, bamboo salad, make a big pot of soup with it (like the picture above), bamboo kabob and barbecue it, bamboo burger mix with ground beef, chicken, shrimp or other veggie for the non-meat folks, etc…and I bet you can even added to ‘gumbo,’ but I’m not sure about frying it by iself…however, if you sliced it up very fine and mixed with some chicken and lemon grass, ginger, garlic, various spices, and some self rising-flour, this too can be deep fried and may taste compatible, if not better than the Colonel Sander’s Original Recipe®, Extra Crispy.

    We got some shoots from our cousin two weeks ago and my mom had prepared it four different ways already. I love the steamed bamboo with chicken and various garden herbs and spices wrapped in banana leaf the best.

    Also, I planted two sections of bamboo in my backyard thus far. Not sure what the HOA will say, but I’m sure I can prevent it from spreading to the neighbors (fingers crossed).

    Bottom line…bamboo shoots are great.

    • PaNoy, my sisters and I were talking about planting bamboo in our yard, and we were more concerned when we’re too old to care for it, then it’d spread rapidly, I hope you didn’t plant too close to your neighbor’s yard, and one day the shoot might just go under your fence and appear in your neighbor’s yard. This happens to Lao people here in our area, one Lao lady didn’t plant the bamboo but her American neighbor did, and she has bamboo in her backyard now.

      I like the steamed dish that you’re talking about, one of my favorite bamboo dishes.

  9. it is bamboo harvesting season as i called it. My aunt promised to harvest me some since my mom lives so far and don’t harvest any for me anymore. THey are very yummy and they go great in Kongpong.. Our old backyard used to have lots of bamboo sicne my dad planted them there, but sicne we sold the house, we can’t get any anymore.

    When we havent moved yet my mom would make me go harvest the bamboo with them and when we get home they would stay up all night peeling and boiling the bamboo. it’s well worth it, free food, just have to break lots of sweats. LOL

    my sister in law’s mom made some KaoLarm and gave us some. I love them! I can eat them all day long. LOL

    • mozemoua, I guess I’ve never expected to see this in America, when we were living in NYC, we didn’t know that Lao and Hmong people planted bamboo in their own backyard, it’s kind of neat if you’ve big land, and when we first moved here, it’s a whole different world, in comparison to big city, I like living here.

      I’ve never tried bamboo in Kongpong (kao poun) before, I bet it would taste good. My Hmong co-worker brought some KaoLarm for her boss, she loves it and asked me for the recipe.

  10. Since you never had bamboo in your Kong Pong it must not have been very popular in Thailand. My family and Mrs Dallas family love Kong Pong. I am not a big fan of Kong Pong. My body can’t take red curry, coconut milk, and spice very well. 😛

    • Dallas, I guess my mom never prepared it that way before, and I actually never had it with bamboo, or seen it with one either (except in picture). I like Kao Poun, and don’t mind the red curry and coconut milk at all.

    • Hi Pala Tangga, thanks for stopping by. It’s interesting that you also cook glutinous (sticky) rice in bamboo like us.

      You’ve a very nice blog, although I can’t read but love your photos, especially of the tropical fruits.

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