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Soft but Fruitful Bamboo Shoots in Damyang
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승인 2013.09.09  10:21:26
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From this issue, the Chonnam Tribune will introduce several folk foods in the South Jeolla region as part of the Namdo Food Culture series. – Ed.
South Jeolla region has a natural environment that produces many food materials with which its local people can make a variety of folk food. One of those food materials is juksun, bamboo shoots in Damyang, where about 23.5% of domestic bamboo plants are growing thanks to its continental climate and heavy rainfall that provides a great condition for the growth of the bamboo plants.


Candied bamboo shoots

 Bamboo has been the symbol of ‘fidelity’ and ‘integrity’ in Korean culture by its appearance. To praise its characteristic, a famous Korean poet Yoon Seon-do wrote a sijo, Korean traditional three-verse poetry. In his poem titled with ”Ouga” (Song of five friends), he wrote five natural things as his friends: water, rock, pine, bamboo, and the moon. He described bamboo’s hardness and ever greenness as a truthful and honorable person. Also, some scholars wrote Korean traditional verses known as gasa about the bamboo during the Joseon Dynasty. We can find collections of the Korean poetry at the Korean Gasa Literature Hall in Damyang.
  Local residents in the region have made a meal out of the bamboo plants, especially juksun, bamboo shoots from old times. The cone-shaped bamboo shoots are good for health in that they are low in calories, high in protein and contain plenty of nutrients such as vegetable fibers, vitamins and potassium. Vegetable fibers are effective to combat constipation. Vitamins and potassium are good to emit harmful chemicals within the human body’s blood vessels and make blood circulation smoother and clearer. Therefore, bamboo shoots have used in various dishes, including pickled with bamboo shoots with soy bean paste or red pepper paste, seasoned or stir-fried bamboo shoots with vinegar and other condiments, candied bamboo shoots, and bamboo shoots liquor.




Seasoned bamboo shoots

Tribune reporters visited the Korean Food Grand Master No.33, Park Sun-ae, a skilled professional cook who is proficient at making Korean traditional sweets and cookies. Master Park showed us how to make candied bamboo shoots and bamboo blade deep-fried sweet rice puffs often used to treat guests or for refreshment. First, to make the former, put peeled bamboo shoots in a pot, bring to a boil, simmer them whole until they are tender, and boil them down again with taffy liquid until it gets transparent by controlling the fire. Since the material is with an irregular amount of ingredients, it takes different times to cook each time. For making the latter, firstly, ferment rice for a week to grow black bacteria to improve storage quality and bamboo shoots texture. Next, it needs to be boiled and dried for six months, then fried in salt. She added an explanation of frying skills, “This skill is different according to regions. For example, it is a tradition to fry them with pebble in Busan, while it is common to use oil in Seoul.” After going through filtering salt, it is completed.




Bamboo blade fried ribbon cookies

The Damyang Bamboo Research held a bamboo shoots dishes tasting last June in order to populate a variety of bamboo shoots dishes and secure a market for the bamboo shoots products. The bamboo plants were important to our ancestors’ everyday lives as a daily dish, folk remedy and were the subjects of Korean literature. Evergreen bamboo to symbolize fidelity and its soft but fruitful shoots make us reflect on our life.

 By Cho Se-hyun, Tribune Reporter

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