How do you buy bamboo shoots that are not bitter?

I love bamboo shoots, in soups, stir-fried with ginger and soy sauce, slow cooked, but I always end up buying really bitter bamboo shoots. I tried every trick possible to get rid of the bitterness, to make them edible but haven’t succeeded yet. Does someone here know?

There’s probably a few things going on here. First of all bamboo shoot season is only once a year according to my father-in-law (they have a bamboo patch on a nearby mountain), so buying in season would help a lot.

Second is that you need to break down the bamboo by boiling in water and oil. The oil is very important to break down the fibres for some reason. You can’t just instantly stir fry bamboo or lightly cook it.

  1. Don’t buy straight bamboo shoots. Bamboo shoots should look short and the tip should curve.
  2. Don’t buy bamboo shoots with a green tip.

Do both, it should turn out alright.

The trick to taking bitterness out of bamboo is to rinse it off enough, depending on the type and quality of the bamboo. Put the bamboo into a container, like the inner of a rice cooker, and slowly run water over it. For the stuff we get out of our yard (the long straight stuff, we cut off sections off it), or that our neighbors give us (the stuff you can’t really sell at the market) we need to do that for a whole day. Don’t just soak it in the water; you have to keep the water fresh. If you put in still water, you need to change the water quite often. Use enough oil when you stirfry it. If you use it in soup, make it in that oily “paigu” (pork bone) soup.

If you are eating it raw, you’ll need to get the tender tips of the bamboo shoots that farmers take out before the sun comes up. It’s not the season for that, at least not up North.

There are many different varieties of bamboo - some are more bitter than others. The fist-sized cone-shaped ones that appear only for a month each year (Autumn) are the best. As the posters above said, you need to at least rinse them, and preferably simmer them for ~30 mins. I’ve never tried slicing them and stir-frying them directly.

You people make baby pandas cry. Won’t someone please think of the hungry baby pandas?

Thank you for the suggestions! I’ll try them all. I really have a thibg for the taste and texture of bamboo shoots. I tried to simmer the bamboo in salty water this morning before cooking it but didn’t work well, my bamboo dish came bitter than bitter melon.