Sour Bamboo Shoots
Naw Mai Dong หน่อไม้ดอง
Outside of cosmopolitan Bangkok, bamboo groves grow along the edges of rice fields, around people's homes, in the woods and up on the hills. The shoots are cut and trucked into Bangkok in the middle of the night. They're ready for chefs and housewives early in the morning when the markets convene. Some of the harvest turn into pickled bamboo shoots or Sour Bamboo shoots.
A young bamboo shoot is sliced thin and pickled in a simple brine of water and salt. It takes about 3 days to 2 weeks for the pickle to mature. The pickled shoots don't smell or look very attractive but the extra dimension that the pickling process brings out makes Sour Bamboo Shoots an important ingredients in several dishes such as Sour Bamboo Curry and Southern Sour Curry.
A good sour bamboo should not have a strong sour smell. The bamboo should be thinly sliced and tender. They come in a plastic and glass jar in a clear brine.
Sour bamboo is available at most Asian stores.