Young bamboo stir-fried with smoked pork- a dish to try in Mau Son

03-Jan-2020

In the days of light rain in spring, Lang Son highland people go into the forest to dig the hidden young bamboo trees under the leaf layers.

Vau (Vietnamese name of Bambusa nutas, a kind of bamboo) often grows in mountainous regions with a high moisture level and a lot of rain. This tree can be almost 20m tall; the young ones have a light green trunk and when they grow up, the trunk becomes grey. Vau can be used for making paper powder, handicrafts, toothpicks and construction materials.

Young bamboo

In Mau Son mountainous region, young bamboo trees are made into some familiar dishes for the highlanders.

Spring is when there are continuous light rains. When meeting warm weather, young bamboo trees start to grow. Young bamboo has the best taste when it is about a few centimeters above the ground and hidden under the fallen leaves layer.
 
Experienced young bamboo diggers often go by their bare feet round these bamboo trees in the forest and sweep the leaves away to find young bamboo trees. They often use their own feet to feel the top of these young bamboo trees without feeling painful. After they have found these, they will use a moorhen to dig the bamboos up. Some young bamboo trees can weigh about 3kg.
 
People in the mountainous area can live without thriving for food and drink when wandering in the forests. Use a knife to cut half the young bamboo trees right at the roof; this part has a sweet favor and nice odor which will give you some energy.
 
Apart from “digging”, people even telling each other that they can “gathering” young bamboo in the forest. But this can only be applied to a kind of young bamboo that grows high above the ground and the top of it can be eaten. Vau young bamboo should never be “gathered” as the top of this kind has a very bitter taste.

Young bamboo

In the Vau species, there are a bitter kind and a sweet kind. You should have an extremely good vision to find out the difference between them.

“If you see a young bamboo tree with many purple leaves on its skin, that’s the bitter one, which becomes more bitter when the leaves are more purplish. Bitter young bamboo grows earlier than the sweet kind and is hunted by the gastronomic more. This kind of food has a price range from about 35,000 VND to 50,000 VND a kilogram including the skin and there are not many kinds to buy.” Mr. Nguyen Minh Chuyen, Head of Tourism Management at Mau Son Tourism site, said.
 
With the bitter young bamboo tree, the locals can make into many delicious dishes such as fried, boiled or roast but the best of all might be young bamboo fried with smoked pork.

Young bamboo

The local has been rearing pigs for many years, there are even some which are over 100 kg and is used for Tet. A part of the pork is used for Tet and worshipping, and the rest are smoked for daily eating.

Bacon and shoulder cut are sliced into pieces that are about half a meter and marinated with salt; then hung over the stove and smoked. When the pork is fully smoked, the skin will become tight and the fat layer will become clear. Then, put these into hot water, remove the soot layer, slice into smaller pieces and fry with fresh young bamboo, citronella and chilly or celery and onion, you will have a nice dish.
 
If you have some time, you should try wandering in the forest or do some far work in the field, carrying rice seeds and cultivating. When your stomach is empty, you can have lunch or dinner with young bamboo fried with smoked pork and forest veggies soup and nothing can compare to this taste. “The meal in gathering season is just like that, plain and simple just like the highlanders.” Mr. Chuyen said.
 
Besides Lang Son, the bitter young bamboo tree grows naturally in some provinces like Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, Cao Bang, Bac Kan, Lao Cai, Yen Bai…

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