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I love taro..

Taro ice cream (found in asian markets, like Mitsuwa)
Taro popsicle bars (always found at 99 Ranch)
Taro-filled dim sum (mmm..the big & robust one mixed with peanuts, and crispy fried on the outside - I like the ones at the Arcadia Full House)
Taro-layered cakes (Taro in the flour, or in between the fine, thin, fried pieces..if you know what sort of asian-bakery-cake I'm referring to)
Taro chips
I'm not too hot on the taro and coconut desserts at dim sum, though...coconut's too overpowering.

Here's more info on the veggie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taro

I find it creamy and sweet, yet malleable enough to be savory (as in dim sum). It can be eaten whole, mixed in with other ingredients, or fried by itself. Any way it's eaten, it's delicious. Plus, it's a soft purple/lavender, giving your dessert, snack, or main dish a splash of unexpected color.

What other taro finds do you know of?

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  1. Taro pudding (most HK style seafood restaurants, e.g. 888, Ocean Star, etc. and at Phoenix Bakery)

    Stewed taro with braised pork knuckle -- savory and sweet. (Lake Spring in Monterey Park)

    Baked taro (at home)

    Taro filled boas (Seafood City used to have them on the menu, but no more. Diamond Bakery has them IIRC).

    1. Some Thai restaurants have an amazing taro pudding dessert -- I thought it would be heavy but it's not, it's perfectly light and airy -- I've only had it at Lotus of Siam in Vegas but I'm sure Ban Khanom and other places here would have it.
      Of course there's all the taro boba drinks...
      Have you been to the Filipino bakery/coffee shop in the Eagle Rock mall? I think all those intensely purple desserts are made with taro, right?

      1. Taro ice cream at Fosselman's. More intensely flavored than most Asian varieties.

        1. I LOVE the taro desserts in Phoenix Food Boutique (The LAT just did a profile on them too! YAY!!! :) and at BTK in Thai Town (Which was recently featured on Anthony Bourdain's show! DOUBLE YAY!!!). Perhaps one of my FAVORITE desserts EVER are their tarro, coconut and corn pancakes. :)


          2 Replies
          1. re: Dommy

            Where in Phoenix is this food boutique? Could it be listed under a different name?

            1. re: AZ DESERT GAL

              Phoenix Bakery/Food Boutique is a chain of LA based Chinese restaurants/bakeries. The name refers to the bird, not Phoenix, Arizona.

          2. The asian bakeries usually make loaves of Taro bread that my wife loves. They're not very large and run about $4, so they're pricey, but good. Lumps of Taro baked inside a fluffy white bread, a hint of sweetness, it's just yummy!

            1. I had some great taro in my hotpot at Mon Land Hot Pot City. It was so good! It soaked up all the other flavors in the hot pot and had a great texture.

              I love the taro milk tea at Lollicup.


              1. A very common Chinese dish that can be found at most Chinese markets, dim sum houses, and some snack counters and bakeries is taro cake (not to be confused with the purple confectionary cake). My wife is out right now, so I don't know the Chinese name, but it consists of rice flour, taro flour, diced taro, water or broth, pieces of shrimp, onion, and maybe some pork, which is mixed, poured into a pan, then steamed. Once it's steamed, you let it cool so it can harden, then it is sliced, grilled, and served with hoisin sauce, a chile sauce of your choosing (I prefer a good sambal), or even a dash of fish sauce. Obviously this is a savory dish, but it really hits the spot. You can also get versions of this that are called carrot or turnip cake as well. They are similar but do vary in texture and obviously mixes of vegetables.

                1 Reply
                1. The pan-fried taro cake mentioned by bulavinaka is the variation of tradition Chinese turnip cakes, pretty much available in all dim sum restaurants and are particular popular during Chinese New Year.

                  Other taro treats that are not mentioned in the previous postings:
                  - crispy Shrimp balls coated with taro stripes - minced shrimp ball coated with thin stripes (almost as think as potato strings) and then deep fry until golden brown-
                  Taro pancake (chinese style) - similar to the Scallion pancake but the thin crepe-like pancake is mixed with taro and also has thin stripes of taro
                  - The "vegetarian" fish - the one the is made with mashed taro inside, often coated with a layer of "fai choi" and then another layer of coating for deep-frying - I love this!
                  -Mashed Taro with chinese sauage - similar to mashed potatoes but instead you use taro, and the chinese sauage as the bacon
                  -Spring rolls with taro and meat - fillings of the spring rolls containing stripes of taros and meat (usually chicken or pork) - very popular in Hong Kong restaurants
                  -Taro and Chinese Cured Duck in Clay Pot - a classic dish for winter; duck is sometimes replaced by pork belly
                  -Taro soup dumpling (sweet) - I am talking about the small one with the glutinous rice ball already mixed into the dough, often served with coconut- or milk-based "tong siu"
                  - Taro Bubble Tea - very common though I found the taro flavor to be superficial
                  - Taro Sweet "Mud" Pudding - a super-sweet mashed taro dessert in thick, creamy consistency. It is traditionaly done with lard, so it is super sweet and super unhealthy~
                  - Sugar - coated taro sticks - the traditional Chiu Chow dessert, with thick taro sticks stir-fried with oil (yes, most likely lard) and sugar until every stick is completely coated with sugar
                  - Taro tong siu (sweet soup) with tapioca - the small tapioca with taro boiled into liquid with coconut milk or evaporated milk; served hot or cold
                  - chewy taro cubes/ balls on Taiwanese ice shaving

                  Oh god, shall i say the possibilities are endless?

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    You must work for the Taro Advisory Board! ;> Great list... The taro in the taro bubble tea should be fresh, not powdered - it's very noticeable in taste and cosistancy... The taro industry owes you a truckload of taro!

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      Hi bulavinaka,

                      Thanks for your note! My mom is the one who loves taro, so I end up eating a lot of it from my mom's cooking. I have heard that there is a tribe somewhere in South America and they have taro as their main food staple (so taro is their "rice" or "potato") and they have it in every single meal. The research shows that those people the tribe has almost no incident of obesity and have significant longer life spans than average public, even thought they still consume meat and fats such as pork or beef. They said it is the benefit of eating taro!

                      1. re: kobetobiko

                        The same is true for people from the South Pacific in the past. The research done in South Pacific Islander studies showed that when their diets consisted of more starches and less meat, the average Islander was the epitome of perfect health. The amount of meat - especially pork and beef (which was nonexistant in the old days for them) - was much lower, as they only butchered a pig for very special occasions. Being on islands, they ate mostly protein sources from the sea, which are typically very lean compared to pork or beef. Also, the starches that they would typically eat - taro and breadfruit - are very filling, thereby reducing the general intake of food.

                        Hoever, the typical diet of the those in the South Pacific has changed, not only in food sources, but also the ratio of starch to protein, and of course, the quantity! Unless they are living in more remote area of the South Pacific, most Islanders are eating alot of canned meats and lots of fried foods now (think Hawaiian food if you're familiar with it).

                        I think those tribes in South America benefit from the filling affect of taro, but also from the high level of fiber, and the high mineral content in it. What a great thing, this taro is - great tasting (when in the right hands), a good for you too!

                    2. re: kobetobiko

                      Wow thanks! Where have you eaten sweet taro soup dumplings? I'm assuming I can find it at 99 Ranch, but do you have a suggestion, or perhaps a restaurant rec?

                      1. re: kobetobiko

                        Ooooh I love your list. I'm a huge taro fan as well. As NS1 noted Red Ribbon (Sunset and Gower) has a dense, creamy, taro-ey "Ube cake." I like it better than Chinese bakery versions as it appears to be made from fresh grated taro. I've also had a taro ice cream with coconut sport (ube macapuno) from Filipino markets that I like better than Japanese or Chinese versions because the taro taste is more pronounced. And little Sam Woo off San Gabriel has a salmon head with taro hot pot that is very good.

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          Macao Street makes a very tasty Taro dessert--sweet mud pudding style.

                          Ube Coconut ice cream at Scoops today.

                          1. re: fdb

                            I was just in that neighborhood lunching at Mario's. As I already overfilled my Scoops ice cream quota this week for the month, I forced my steering wheel to turn west. Had I known they have Ube Coconut, I wouldn't have struggled so much and simply gave in.

                            1. re: poggibonzzi

                              I wish there is a way of finding out what flavors Tai's making everyday, but I also love surprises. The cinnamon/peanut butter that I had yesterday was amazing. Guess you just have to give in to the sweet temptation when you are in the neighborhood.

                          2. re: kobetobiko

                            Oh I love those chewy taro balls in Taiwanese ice shavings!!! Hard to find soft chewy ones though

                          3. I love the sweet black sticky rice with taro at Bahn Kanom in thai town. Soooo delicous!

                            1. not fully taro but the ube roll/cake from red ribbon


                              taro ice cream from fosselman's. Really, mind blowing.

                              1. Taro bread from RJs. I don't mean the baos but thick dense bread. Have some at home.

                                Taro stewed with baby back ribs, ginger, soy......

                                1. My favorite taro dish, patra, a Gjuarati treat, is actually made not fron the root but from the leaves. You can find it at Jay Bharat in Artesia.

                                  OK, on to taro root. I like Cantonese and Thai dishes in which the taro makes a crunchy nest that surrounds seafood. These are pretty ubiquitous.

                                  I like taro in hot Asian drinks, such as grass jelly. There are lot of places in the SGV that serve stuff like this, but a good one that comes to mind is Tea Station on Valley Blvd.

                                  Also at Bhan Khanom in Thai Town, try the purple fried taro things. They are exquisite.

                                  1. You need to try the Taro Ball, which is a type of Taiwanese dessert, at Bin Bin Konjac. It has the consistency of mochi but a little more chewy and firmer. You can have them in various type of dessert soup or shave ice. It's made of real taro, not from the powder.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: fdb

                                      Is Bin BIn Konjac next to Sin Bala in Arcadia?

                                      1. re: Beignets

                                        Yes, and another location on 310 W. Valley Blvd. (between New & Del Mar).

                                    2. Vegetarian Wok in San Gabriel does a sweet and sour "pork" that is actually made with deep fried taro. This is one of my favorite dishes in the world. MMmmmmmmm.