One thing I love about living in China is that I get introduced to all these new traditions. Last Thursday, September 19, was the Mid-Autumn Festival, otherwise known as the Moon Festival because of all the yummy mooncakes you traditionally consume. Well, there’s also this whole legend behind the festival, but I always associate the festival with mooncakes. Anyhow, apparently it’s also customary to eat taro, at least in Shanghai … something about how the name (芋头 / yù tóu) is pronounced in the dialect. Who knew?
Taro is not the most delicious looking thing in the world. In fact, it looks rather disgusting and unappetizing. Although I’m Chinese, the first time I actually saw/ate a real taro was approximately two weeks ago. I’ve had taro puffs many times before (they’re deep-fried pastries with mashed taro and ground pork filling) because they’re common fare for dim sum, but I can’t really say that by eating those I’d experienced real taro.
I’ve never prepared it myself because I’ve heard it’s a bit of a hassle. When it’s raw, the outside can be really irritating to your skin. But after you wash it really well, you boil it.
Let them cool off a bit, then peel them. The outside comes off fairly easy, and then the little things look like naked mole rats (IMHO).
Get a bowl of sugar, and while the taro root is still warm, dip and eat. Yum. It’s not my favorite snack in the world (I’m still a Cheetos and chips kinda girl) but it’s by far one of the healthier snacks even taking into account the sugar. Then again … I use a lot of sugar.