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Monday, September 7, 2015

Winged Beans

Seriously. These veggies are the most interesting thing I have discovered in a very long time. I am fortunate to live in California and every Sunday under the freeway in the (almost) downtown of Sacramento, there is an absolutely fabulous Farmer's Market. And the bonus: an Asian Farmer's Market just two blocks away.

"What are these?" I asked one of the vendors at the Asian Market, pointing to the green veggies that look a more like sea creatures than vegetables.

The response was inaudible. Something-bean. 

"I'm sorry. What kind of bean?" I asked

"Green bean," was the reply. 

I left that produce stand feeling perplexed and figured it is just how it translated from whatever Asian language the vendor spoke to English. They certainly were not the green beans I know and love! 

The Asian Market is quite an interesting cultural experience for me. Coming from the Mid-West, I have a difficult time with the crowds. No one makes eye contact and has no issue with shoving to get through the narrow aisles between produce stands. My husband has advised me to leave my Americanness on the street prior to entering the crowded market and then pick it up again on my way out. I have found this to be excellent advise and it helps me deal with what I perceive to be a lack of manners from most of the patrons. 

My husband is a seasoned produce purchaser from many a crowded market and had never seen this new peculiar veggie either. We were happy to stumble upon a pile of okra. As the two of us were picking though the mound to find small tender okra to make our beloved grilled okra, we were surprised to see another pile of the intriguing beans just adjacent to the okra. We were wondering about them and found it amusing that two elderly Chinese ladies were just as curious about them as we were.

"What are these called?" my husband asked the vendor.

She looked confused and finally replied, "Taiwanese green bean."

"How much?" my husband asked

"Four dollars," was the response. 

At $4 per pound and a curiosity that could only be quenched by trying some, we purchased only a few. We were advised by another customer to pick the smaller ones because they were more tender. They can be eaten raw or added as a part of a stir fry. 

Once I got home, I could not wait to search the internet for what these veggies are called. Not Asian Green Bean. Not Taiwanese Green Bean. 

They are Winged Beans. Quite appropriately named I must say. (They are also known as Thai Winged Beans, not quite the same as Taiwanese.)

The results are in: they are DELICIOUS! 

And if I had to pick what they taste more similar to: green beans. 

Hopefully there will be Winged Beans at the Asian Market again this coming weekend. I am going to do some internet searching and see if I can find an interesting recipe for Winged Beans. 

Any suggestions on how to prepare would be greatly appreciated!

Some of you may have noticed I was on hiatus for a good chunk of August. A close family member had passed away and although not unexpected, it is still very difficult. Hopefully I can get back to a regular blogging schedule...

1 comment:

grace said...

fascinating! i've definitely never seen these in any capacity but i'd be game to try them out!
sorry for your loss. :(