Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eating Lotus

For years now, we have been eating lotus root, which is a common item to dip into hot pot or season up in a spicy gan guo. But we've always wondered about all of the lotus we seen being sold on the streets of Beijing during the summer.

What we're talking about are those two cone-shaped parts of lotus that are located at the very tops of the stems in the accompanying photograph. (Not the flowers or leaves or anything like that.)

You will see merchants on the streets with bunches of these parts of lotus, advertising them as good to eat. But how do you eat them?

One day, while walking with a friend through an area where there is a lotus pond, this very issue came up, as our friend was extolling the virtues of eating lotus. What followed was a lesson that finally cracked the code for us.

What you do is literally crack open the cone. Inside are green seeds, lots of them. These are what you eat.

I found these lotus seeds to be not all that exciting. Nothing offensive or anything like that. There was a bitterness to them that was kind of nice. But the overall taste was nothing that I would want to search out on a regular basis.

One less mystery out on the streets, though!

~Steve

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