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Bamboo and Pork Chop Soup  

Bamboo and Pork Soup 筍子排骨湯 (sǔn zi páigǔ tāng) A simple, traditional Taiwanese soup.


Serves 6

300 g (11 oz) bamboo shoots, cut into small chunks
*250 g (9 oz) pork chops or spareribs, chopped into 5 cm (2") pieces
5 cups water
I cup of chicken stock
Salt to taste


  1. Place bamboo in a pot with plenty of water, bring to boil, simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Taste bamboo; if bitter, replace water and boil for a further 10 minutes.
  2. Blanch pork to remove fatty odour. Pour out water and clean pot.
  3. Add 5 cups of water and stock to pot, bring to boil.
  4. Add pork and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Drain bamboo and add to pork.
  6. Salt if necessary
  7. Simmer for 30 minutes.

This dish is preferably made from fresh, raw shoots. Most commonly Taiwanese use shoots from one of the largest varieties of bamboo in the world – Taiwan giant bamboo. But any fresh shoots will do. If you cannot source the fresh article, use canned, but as these are normally pre-cooked, the flavour will be weaker. If you use other preserved shoots, rinse them before use, as they may be very salty or sour.

*You may need your butcher to do this.

Warning Some species of bamboo contain a naturally occurring toxin called hydrocyanic acid (prussic acid). To put it bluntly, this bitter substance contains cyanide – safe if leached out using the method described above (1). Do this for all fresh bamboo to be on the safe-side. Canned or other kinds of preserved bamboo should already be treated.



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