I’m addicted to this Thai lotus shoot salad (yum lai bua) and have been cooking the stuff weekly for God knows how long. Calling it delicious is an understatement. This is a dish that anyone who’s a fan of crunchy vegetables will enjoy.
As a person who loves cooking, I find lotus very fascinating because you can eat almost every part of it – the root, the shoot, the stem, the petal, the seed, you name it. Not to mention we still use the leaf to package food here in Asia.
Needless to say my favorite part to eat is the shoot. But even then I had to spend a good amount of time reading about it before writing this post. I didn’t even know what it’s called in English. A lot of people seem to call it ‘lotus stem’ but here’s what I found…
LOTUS SHOOTS & LOTUS STEMS IN THAI CUISINE
a) There are two types of lotus that are eaten in Thailand: ‘bua sai’ and ‘bua luang’ (bua means lotus in Thai, by the way)
b) The stem, or what we call ‘sai bua’ in Thai is the part attached to the flower, whereas the shoot or ‘lai bua’ is underwater and will develop into a new plant. I know — lai bua and sai bua — I swear they confuse some of us too!
c) We eat the stem of bua sai; the stem of bua luang is too tough.
d) Bua luang propagates by shoots but bua sai doesn’t. So the shoots that we eat are bua luang shoots.