Sat, May 12, 2018 - Page 13 News List

Ian's Table: Bamboo season is back

Makino shoots are associated with the months following Tomb Sweeping Festival, and now is the time to enjoy this delicacy in its fresh state

By Ian Bartholomew  /  Contributing reporter

From a health perspective, Makino shoots are hugely rich in fiber. In fact, such is its strength and durability, this type of bamboo is highly regarded as a building material, particularly for indoor furnishings, in which its delicate fragrance is also a factor in its popularity, and as scaffolding.

The high fiber content is the reason for the longer preparatory cooking time, which helps break down the fibers. This fiber content is good for alleviating constipation and reducing levels of bad cholesterol, and there are suggestions that it helps protect the digestive organs from toxic compounds in food, reducing the risk of colon-rectal cancer.

Bamboo shoots generally are low in calories, so they are excellent for weight loss, and Makino shoots are rich in Vitamin B complex, helping to improve metabolic function, as well as being rich in a wide variety of minerals.

Makino bamboo is usually foraged from forests where it grows naturally, so in general fresh Makino shoots are free of any pesticide and herbicide residues, adding to their appeal as a food.

Stir Fried Makino Shoots with Beef


(serves two)

This is a stir fry that does not require high temperatures and as such is a bit of a cheat, but as nice as a good night market fry up can be, the oily smoke that this kind of cooking generates at home is not very nice. I find myself doing things at much lower heat these days, and while textures and flavors are different, this is not altogether a bad thing. The tenderloin in this recipe actually tastes better without having to hit a wall of heat when it goes into the pan, and after boiling, the bamboo is already cooked, and only needs the heat to absorb flavor. If you have already prepared the bamboo shoots in advance, the whole thing takes less than 15 minutes to put together and is splendid served with white rice.


200g beef tenderloin

300g Makino bamboo shoots

1 tbsp light soy

1 clove garlic

1 large chili, seeded

half tsp white pepper

half tsp sugar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp chili oil (optional)

1 tsp white sesame seeds


1. If you have fresh bamboo shoots, prepare as stated above. Once you have the cooled bamboo shoots, pull them apart lengthwise then cut into sections.

2. Thinly slice the beef. If your knife is not butcher-shop sharp, the best way to ensure nice thin slices is to cut the beef while it is still semi-frozen and firm.

3. Mix the beef slices with a mixture of soy, white pepper and sugar until well coated.

4. Heat a frying pan with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bamboo shoots, garlic and chili then gently fry for two minutes.

5. Add the beef and fry over medium heat until it is evenly colored. Do not over cook.

6. Dress the dish with chili oil (if using) and white sesame seeds. Serve with rice.

Ian Bartholomew runs Ian’s Table, a small guesthouse in Hualien. He has lived in Taiwan for many years writing about the food scene and has decided that until you look at farming, you know nothing about the food you eat.

He can be contacted at

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