Life in China: A Picture A Day, March 17, 2016

These are Chinese yams, Huai Shan 鲜淮山or Shan Yao 山药, used fresh they are good in stir-fries, soup, and a popular Chinese dessert with blueberry sauce. They are especially good for the digestive system. I don’t use these much, unless I can buy them peeled, sliced and packaged ready to use. They are about 2-3 ft long when you buy them fresh, so right from the start, they are awkward to carry home. Then, you are supposed to wear gloves to peel them because they are very “slimy” once peeled and cause itchiness for many people. They also discolor quickly, so you need to put them in some water with a little vinegar. If you have gotten this far, you are ready to cook them and enjoy! They have a slightly sweet taste and a nice crunchy texture. They are best known as a dried herb rather than fresh, especially for use in tonic soups for Traditional Chinese Medicine. There is another similar looking root, called burdock, which has a visible ring when cross cut.