Labong is a Tagalog word for Bamboo Shoots, an edible part of the bamboo which is used in different Asian dishes. These shoot or sprout for those who do not know, are the new bamboo stems that just came out from the ground. You will know and see this if you have bamboo tree at your home and mow the lawn; they are the annoying sprouts that come out regularly specially in spring time. Having said that it does not mean that you can eat the ones from your lawn as there are only some species that can be used for culinary consumption.
If you are interested in using this ingredient you can buy this fresh, canned or vacuum packed and if I were to suggest buy the fresh ones as a first choice, even though they are hard to prepare (you to tenderize it by boiling) it does not smell like the processed ones. Bamboo shoots have that nasty smell once it ages, but if you don’t have a choice buy the vacuum packed ones but boil them multiple times to get rid of the smell. You can use this on stir fries, curries and stews and it is very fibrous but can also be tender depends on how long have you boiled it. A very exotic ingredient indeed but most probably you had tried this already especially if you dine in at Thai restaurants as this is one of the popular vegetables they use in their curries.
- In a pot add water and bamboo shoots then boil for 30 minutes if using the non-fresh ones. Once tender drain let it cool then squeeze out water.
- In a wok add oil then sauté garlic, ginger, chillies and onions.
- Add pork and brown on all sides.
- Add bamboo shoots and coconut milk then bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes in medium heat until liquid is reduced. Add water if needed.
- Add coconut cream, season with fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper then simmer for 5 minutes in medium heat.
- Serve with freshly cooked steamed rice.