Koon คูน, ออดิบ, ตูน
Koon is a type of elephant ear plant, a tropical plant with big, narrowed heart shaped leaves. Koon grows near water. It is a popular plant among tropical and water gardeners.
The light green stems are peeled and eaten. Inside the stem, you can see white spongy texture. When added to dishes, this texture absorbs spices and flavors like a sponge. I especially like it in a southern sour curry.
While some types of elephant ear plants are edible, and others are poisonous, you rarely find the poisonous ones for sale at markets. There seems to be a big confusion over matching the scientific names and local names. At farmers markets, koon is often labeled ‘taro stem’. Koon, though related to taro, is not taro. Koon is also related to 'bon', a similar edible plant that tastes great, but can cause itchy irritation when eaten.
In northern Thailand and Laos, koon is known as ‘toon’. In the south, however, it’s named ‘au dib’. Koon is also known as ‘bac ha’, a Vietnamese name, at Asian supermarkets.