Guest post: Ideas for eating bamboo shoots

A post here that talked about fermented bamboo shoots  inspired Helen, from Health Ambition to offer a guest post to Life with Bamboo. She had already written about the health benefits of fermented foods. Thanks, Helen.

bamboo shootsBamboo shoots have long been a staple of the South and Southeastern Asian diets , whether sliced in coconut milk in Indonesia, served as a pickle in India or in fish stew in the Philippines.

Whilst not traditionally used in the Western diet, we have come to know and enjoy delicious bamboo shoots through the rise of Asian restaurants and supermarkets that we are now lucky enough to have on our doorstep. But bamboo does not just have to be enjoyed as part of these Oriental cuisines! This healthy and nutritious food can be used as part of our everyday cooking routine. Here are some ways to spice up some of your favorite dishes by adding some delicious bamboo throughout the day!

Bamboo for Breakfast

With all the below ideas, if you are using fresh bamboo, prepare first by boiling to destroy the harmful toxins, if using canned, they can just be drained and used immediately.


An omelette is a great start to the day, it’s quick and easy to prepare and will provide sufficient energy to last you through till lunch. But to avoid that omelette becoming bland, add some bamboo!

Grate a bamboo shoot and mix together with some finely sliced onion, salt and heat together with butter. After 5 minutes add eggs, fold in the mixture and cook as usual. The subtle savoury flavour of the bamboo comes through remarkably well and provides a satisfying kick.

If you are worried about the cholesterol implications of the eggs, don’t! Research has shown that bamboo can reduce cholesterol!

Bamboo for Lunch

Chicken Soup

Many popular chicken soup recipes include noodles like vermicelli to give a contrast against the watery soup and soft chicken. Instead, replace these noodles with some finely sliced bamboo shoots. As the soup nears completion, add in the bamboo for the final 5 minutes and gently stir to allow to infuse into the broth.

The bamboo adds a subtle flavour combined with a gentle crunch to satisfy the mouth. Although chicken soup may be considered a homely Western meal, this dish with a little bamboo is popular throughout Vietnam called Bun Mang Ga.


fresh bamboo shoots

The inner heart of the shoots

Bamboo salad is often found in Chinese restaurants served cold as either an accompaniment or starter with a little sesame oil and coriander. But it can be used to spice up your traditional garden salads.

Prepare your favourite garden salad as normal (tomatoes, cucumber, radish etc.) using ingredients that are in season. Add sliced bamboo shoots (if you are using fresh bamboo, allow to drain and cool after boiling), and toss with a little olive oil. You will find that the textural bamboo contrasts beautifully with the soft salad ingredients, and you should be able to forego any pepper or spice as the bamboo provides that extra boost!


Traditional Roast

One of the most satisfying meals is a traditional roast with chicken, beef or pork accompanied with a selection of oven cooked vegetables. Bamboo is not usually considered a staple of this popular dish, but it adds a surprising dimension to that already fantastic meal.

Prepare fresh bamboo by boiling, draining and then slicing fairly thickly (although you can use canned bamboo, after being in water for so long they do not roast particularly well). Cook your vegetables as usual on a baking tray in the oven covered with a little oil. For the final 10 minutes add the drained bamboo.

The bamboo can replace some of the more crunchy vegetables such as swede or carrots, and gives a cheeky twist that will surprise your family!


Bamboo is not just for traditional Asian dishes! It is extremely versatile and adds a distinctive yet mild flavour and texture to many of your favourite foods. Use your imagination and try to incorporate it wherever you can. Spice up those dishes by adding some delicious bamboo!

The Nutritional Facts of Bamboo Shoots and Their Usage as Important Traditional Foods of Northeast India
Nutritional Properties of Bamboo Shoots: Potential and Prospects for Utilization as a Health Food
Advances in Studying on Physiological Activity and Curative Effect of Bamboo Derivatives

Helen Sanders is chief editor at Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.

Bamboo pegs – a review

bamboo peg

Simple as it gets

Have you ever really given much thought to those ubiquitous little helpmates, the common peg? Can’t say I have, even though I use pegs for many little clippy-kinda jobs besides hanging clothes out to dry. There are some who have given pegs a great deal of thought. Back in 2006 there was a special exhibition of nearly 300 different pegs.

Until I got my first box of bamboo clothes pegs, I never thought of pegs as a tool of beauty and charm. My first box of bamboo pegs came as a bonus with a customer loyalty programs at an organic grocer store in Townsville. I must confess to thinking of the pegs as a bit of a gimmick at first, but not anymore.

 The Mieco pegs I took home are packaged in rustic-looking recycled light cardboard packets. When new, the pegs have that delightful bamboo lustre to them.

As a lazy peg user, my preference is always to leave the pegs on the clothes line, to patiently await my next load of washing. This treatment of pegs turns the plastic ones brittle rather quickly. I tend not to buy plastic pegs. Alas, the cheap wooden pegs last only a little longer. The springs in the pegs acquire a propensity to fling half the peg into grass under the clothes line, never to be seen again.

bamboo pegs

Wooden pegs and bamboo pegs

So, imagine my surprise, when side by side with wooden pegs, the bamboo pegs I thought of as novelty, are out-pegging all forerunners. The bamboo pegs that I left on the clothes line are looking a bit weathered and mouldy, certainly. But, they are still strong. The bamboo pegs that still reside indoors, for use during inclement weather and all the other little jobs pegs are so handy for, are still looking gorgeous.

They are not cheap. They are slightly smaller than the average mass-produced wooden peg. They do look a bit mouldy after being left in the weather. Notwithstanding these minor drawbacks, I’m buying more. They last longer, they look better, and they’re made of bamboo.

Bamboo sculpture competition 2016

bamboo sculpture, bamboo competition, bamboo contestThere is another bamboo sculpture contest being organised by the Bamboo Society of Australia.  The entries will displayed and judged at the Brisbane International Garden Show in October 2016.

Three prize categories are on offer. First prize is $3,000. Entry fee for non-members is $100. Alternatively, you could take out a yearly e-membership for $20, enter the competition for $75, and have access to years of current and back-issues of the Bamboo Bulletin. The Bamboo Bulletin offers stacks of information about identifying, growing, maintaining, and using bamboo.

The Bamboo Society of Australia will have a booth at the Garden Show. This is a fine opportunity to quiz some experts about growing bamboo.

See you there!


mini dustpan and broom with bamboo

bamboo, bamboo dustpan, bamboo brushFor some time now I’ve been looking for a dustpan and broom small enough to use and store in my Caddy van home. I was thrilled to find the perfect little set with, no less, a bamboo handle. Then I saw the price – over $30. No.

But I’m persistent.

A little more searching came up with the same product, shipped from the US to Australia for about $10 (it was on sale). Yes.

dustpanbroomApart from looking great, with its bamboo ring handle, it is a good size for me to keep in the van and it is made with recycled plastics. The brush just clips into the pan and stays there. Measuring 170 mm at the base, a tiny bit more in height, and only 45 mm wide, it can be hung up, or stood on its edge.

It’s cute and it works well. The bristles on the brush are the just the right length and thickness and the soft flexible edge on the pan helps with getting the sand/dust/dirt/whatever onto the pan. The whole unit has a quality feel to it. In summary, I love it!

Mine came from iHerb. You can use this link  to get $5 off your first iHerb order (search for Mini Brush & Dustpan).

Bamboo on the Internet – one more for 2015


Kokopelli silhouettes dance under a stormy sky in hopes for rain.

Here in the Southern Hemisphere, there is no sign of a wet season coming to break the drought in this part of Central Queensland. Perhaps that’s why I noticed this very handsome bamboo-handle umbrella but was a bit taken back by the $450 price tag. It’s just the sort of thing I’d leave behind in someones umbrella bin, I’m sure.

bamboo, bamboo toothbrushYou’ve seen bamboo toothbrushes on these pages before. This one comes from Selfridges, with a marketing strategy focused on dirty weekends???? No prices because they were out of stock when I looked. Is that an indication of popularity?

bamboo, bamboo robot

This looks really different – a bamboo robot kit. Geekdad was gifted one and tells his little story about making it.

bamboo steamerThere’s nothing new, or even exciting about bamboo steamers. Ubiquitous in the East, here is a lovely little story from Taiwan about the construction of, and demand for, bamboo steamers.

If I still ate toast, I’d love to have one these: eco+toaster. Yes, it’s a see-through toaster with a bamboo frame.

bamboo toaster

Random recipe: Bongulo chicken, from India.

KostaLife gives us images and a recipe:


  1. Chicken skinless – 500 grm.
  2. Salt to taste.
  3. Red chilly powder -1 tsp.
  4. Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp.
  5. Ginger Paste -1tsp.
  6. Garlic paste -1tsp.
  7. Garam masala Powder-1tsp.
  8. Oil- 2 tsp
  9. Chopped onions -2 tsp
  10. Chopped chillies- 1 tsp
  11. Chicken masala powder-1 tsp

BambooChicken3Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl. Stuff in bamboo and cook over fire, according to the images. An alternative recipe can be found here, with more details about how to put the chicken mixture in the bamboo. A quick YouTube search will give more detailed instructions.

That’s probably all from me for 2015. May all life’s best be yours in 2016.

Bamboo spectacle frames

bamboo, bamboo spectacle frames, bamboo glassesI was in Cairns for a short-term contract in September. One of the good things in Cairns is Rusty’s market. There is always a fine selection of fresh produce, and on a Saturday you will find more non-perishable, crafty-type goods as well. On this trip I fortunate enough to be pointed to a man selling bamboo glasses frames (thanks, Di!).  There were several different frame shapes, in a range of different colours. Some were ready-to-wear sunglasses and others were ready to receive prescription lenses. The frames are hand-crafted, beautifully finished, and extremely well-priced.

bamboo, bamboo glasses, bamboo spectaclesAfter much agonising and indecision over which frames to choose, Cameron solved the problem by producing a two-toned pair from under the counter. Just the thing for a librarian, he thought. The outer surface of the frames are a reddish brown colour and the inner is natural bamboo. The arms are attached with a springy hinge that keeps the spectacles comfortably on the bridge of my nose. The frames are very light-weight and very comfortable.

Cameron gave me the contact details of an optical wholesaler, also in Cairns, who fits prescription lenses in the bamboo frames. I’m very happy with the quality of the lenses fitted. When I return to Cairns next year for another short term contract, I plan to buy some more frames and have the optical wholesaler fit some high quality sunglass lenses.

Need inspiration? Have a look at Cameron’s facebook page.

Want to try your hand at making your own? This Instructables may help.

More on treating bamboo

During a recent visit to northern NSW I stayed at Bonza Bamboo and had the opportunity to cut some bamboo, and the time to treat it. There was also the opportunity to call in to Byron Bamboo, in nearby Tyagarah.

While Lance and Carolyn were away exhibiting at Strand Ephemera 2015, I was holding the fort at Bonza Bamboo and cutting and treating some of their bamboo to take away with me. Some poles were left standing with the solution inside for 3 weeks. For others, I availed myself to Lance’s simple and efficient PVC storm water pipe method. This is ideally suited for bamboo splits and very small diameter poles.

45 degree stormwater junction at one end

45 degree stormwater junction at one end

PVC storm water pipe of varying lengths, as seen in the photos, are fitted at one end with a 45 degree junction. Both ends are capped with a screw fitting. The lower part of the junction facilitates the loading of the bamboo. Once the bamboo is loaded the cap is screwed on. The upper facing part of the junction is where the preservation solution is poured in. The other end of the storm has an inline tap fitted into an end cap. In Lance’s system, this drains to a large drum that sits at a level below the PVC pipes to use gravity to empty the pipes after the treatment is complete.

bamboo treatment

… inline tap at the other end

All the parts to make this treatment system are readily available at your local hardware or plumbing suppliers.

Once treatment was underway I was keen to visit Byron Bamboo to follow up on the experiments they were undertaking with Freemite after the workshop in January this year. The product showed such promise as an effective and natural method to treat bamboo. Kaye is still awaiting test results for Freemite from UTS, but she did have some comments after trying the product. There were some major concerns:

  • The cost: It is an expensive product and, once diluted for use, is only effective for a month.
  • It’s very strong chilli content makes it dangerous to skin and eyes. It has a real burning effect, so from a WHS point of view here in oz it wouldn’t be deemed safe.

Ultimately, she has returned to using soluble boron, Dissolvabor, like Lance.