"I can't shed much light on bac ha but I do know of a chinese green|
vegetable called bok choi - I guess the bac/bok part may be a standard
prefix for leafy greens. "
i doubt that is accurate. i don't speak vietnamese (bac ha) nor
cantonese (bok choy) but in taiwanese, peh-tsai ("white vegetable")
denotes nappa cabbage and is a widespread term that in other chinese
dialects is applied to other leafy vegetables, including the one that
we call bok choy, (i suspect "bok" is cantonese for white).
incidentally, "tsai" (taiw.) or "choy" (cant.) not only designates
leafy vegetables but also is used to mean "dish", as in, "we should
order two dishes for dinner tonight."
2) regarding the long dormancy of taro corms, i wouldn't be surprised
about the longevity of plant matter and its ability to
"ressuscitate". there was a magnolia seed that was found in an
excavation in japan that was dated to be at least 2,000 years old.
the seed sprouted and after it bloomed, the plant was identified to
be an extinct magnolia that existed thousands of years ago! so why
not for corms?
3) growing up in brazil of taiwanese parents who were culturally
japanese (because of japanese colonization of taiwan - reinforced by
the fact that we lived in the japanese section of sao paulo), we ate
a lot of japanese foodstuff, including "konyakku" which i understand
comes from the corms of amorphophallus konjac. konyakku is a bland,
somewhat translucent, starchy, firm paste (much firmer than jello),
that is sliced and sauteed with other vegetables in a curry sauce,
for example. it doesn't taste half bad.
4) here in new york's chinatown, some vegetarian restaurants serve
dishes made of "yams", including translucent noodles. i suspect that
the yams used are not the true yams (dioscoraea) nor sweet potatoes
(ipomoea), but an aroid, possibly amorphophallus. would anyone know
5) eduardo, i never heard of tapioba (xanthosoma) while in growing up
in brazil. maybe one day, you can send us some? :-)
tsuh yang chen, new york city