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Jul 5, 2007 08:13 AM

Pea Tendrils?

was at Taiwan Cafe yesterday and wanted to see if they had pea tendrils. after much back-n-forth with the staff it was concluded that all they offered was 'snow pea stems', which were very good.

am i confused in thinking that pea tendrils are the green spiral-y shoots that a pea vine uses to attach itself to some type of structure, and not the vine itself? if i am right then who has got this dish? if i am wrong then i am such a tool.

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  1. "Pea tendrils" refers to the whole non-pod part of the pea plant. You want the stems and leaves- the tendrils themselves can often be tough. If you buy a bag of pea greens from, say, Super 88, it will often have some amount of tendrils in with the leaves and stems. They might be harder to spot when cooked.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Luther

      ahhh. thank you very much. i got what i was looking for at TC then. nice.

    2. They often have what they call "Pea Shoots" at Mary Chungs. They are always very yummy. Same thing different name.

      1. just to further luther's comment, and to mention that the best what I would call "pea shoots" have fewer of the tendrils, and when buying them this is one thing to look for, and when preparing/washing them for cooking, snipping off (kitchen shears work well) any tendrils improves the texture of the over all dish.

        1. As others have noted, you want the shoots sans the actual tendrils. Good Chinese restaurants remove the tendrils from the shoots, and that's why dishes with the shoots are often quite expensive (and worth it). The tendrils are like eating industrial strength floss; only hemp would be worse, IMO.

          14 Replies
          1. re: Karl S

            I've gotten pea greens a dozen times from Super 88, and they're almost entirely tendril-free. I've gotten them a couple times from local farmer's markets, and the stuff was inedible due to the high tendril content.

            1. re: Luther

              Yes! Though what has always puzzled me about the super88 pea greens is that they're so very carefully tendril-free, and yet so often have random other things tossed in together, requiring some attentive sorting while cleaning. Maybe their supplier has some fancy de-tendrilizing machine?

              1. re: Luther

                I buy them, tendril and all from the Hmong farmers at the local farmers markets. Occasionally a little fibrous, but usually not. They are so fresh and delicious and I really don't mind the occasional fibrous bite. The Hmong guys have by far the best pea greens I find in Boston.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I do think the Hmong farmers are great, though I found their pea shoots a bit tough --but I got them just once early in the season, and I could easily believe that they're often better. I've also found them to be the best local source of various other things, such as kangkong/ong choy/water spinach...

                  1. re: another_adam

                    which farmers market? and are the Hmong farmers you mention growing kangkong locally? didn't think it was warm enough here.

                    1. re: qianning

                      Natick's farmers' market has a Hmong booth with pea tendrils. Natick Common (short walk from T-station) from 9am-12 Saturdays.

                      1. re: qianning

                        The Hmong guys show up to a number of farmers markets. Davis Square for sure, and I'm pretty sure I've seen them in Central Square. Maybe Arlington too, I forget.

                        1. re: maryv

                          They are in Medford too. I got them once earlier in the summer and ate them without doing any de-tendrilizing (due to ignorance on my part) - I enjoyed them, in any case.

                          1. re: maryv

                            yeah...they're in Central Square too. i've seen them every Monday since i started going in July.

                            1. re: yehwan

                              FYI, Flats Mentor Farm is comprised of various farmers. One farm, Bolton Flats, is at Central Square (Mondays), Copley Square (Tuesdays), and Davis Square (Wednesdays).

                          2. re: qianning

                            I've gotten them from the Hmong farmer at the Brookline one. Didn't think they were particularly fibrous, but then I'd never had them elsewhere to compare - got them to experiment.

                            1. re: qianning

                              Yes, I've gotten them at Brookline (Thurs) and Harvard (Sunday), though I don't look for pea shoots every single time, so I'm not sure how consistently they carry them.

                              Their kangkong has been great when I've gotten it--fresh, tender and almost sweet (and very clean). I thought that the major precondition was a very wet/swampy area, so I wouldn't be surprised it there was somewhere local that it could grow in our short season.

                              1. re: another_adam

                                I've gotten them at the Waltham farmer's market on Saturdays. There is a father-son team that is usually there, and they have some other nice greens as well.

                            2. re: another_adam

                              I bought the pea tendrils from Hmong at the Arlington farmers' market last Wednesday. We had them in two separate meals, simply steamed with a bit of butter, salt and pepper; and they were delicious and tender. Went nicely with the butter and sugar corn and award-winning cherry tomatoes from Kimball Farm. Can't wait to go back tomorrow for more!

                      2. Hello....I love pea tendrils! They usually have them at this time of year at Royal East in Cambridge...I have purchased them at the farmers market in Arlington, ffrom the oriental stand and saute them in peanut oil with a touch of soy when finished, yummy