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Baby Corn In Asian Food

PontiusPalate Aug 10, 2013 12:13 PM


How do you feel about the baby corn thingies that are often found in the menu offerings of various Asian restaurants?

Personally, having eaten in a number of Asian restaurants for at least the past 40 years, I have yet to experience a dish I thought was truly enhanced by the addition of baby corn.

Maybe I haven't eaten at the right restaurants, but I have almost always found their presence to be a distraction. They are almost always flavorless, at least to me, and taste as if they came right out of a can.

It's as if they are routinely tossed into a lot of dishes for the sake of diversifying them with a number of ingredients. The result is almost always that of a "hodgepodge" effect. I prefer fewer ingredients which give a dish greater distinction and identity.

There is a Thai restaurant in my area that some people rave about. I have eaten there three times and have sampled three different dishes each time. Baby corn was a part of each of these three dishes. In my opinion, the baby corn subtracted, rather than added to these dishes.

From my experience, the routine inclusion of baby corn in many of an Asian restaurant's entrees has consistently been a sign of mediocrity.

Maybe it's me. Maybe I just don't like baby corn.

Thoughts and opinions?

All The Best,


  1. Chemicalkinetics Aug 10, 2013 12:31 PM

    Well, there are fresh baby corns, and they do taste a bit better, at least in term of texture (more crispy and less liquid).


    I cannot comment any more beyond about hodgepodge effect. All I can say is that I remember liking fresh baby corns when I was a kid.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics
      Kontxesi Aug 10, 2013 12:38 PM

      I haven't encountered baby corn at any of the Asian restaurants around here. I remember seeing them when I was about five and freaking out because I thought they were "octopus legs"....

      The only place I see them is in nasty canned or frozen Chinese food. I have purchased them at my fiance's request when cooking at home, and they don't add anything pleasant to the mix.

      They are tasteless filler to me. I would likely avoid a restaurant that used them in as many dishes add you have described.

      1. re: Kontxesi
        Chemicalkinetics Aug 10, 2013 01:02 PM

        <I haven't encountered baby corn at any of the Asian restaurants around here>

        I rarely see them too. I think they are very seasonal.

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
          Kontxesi Aug 10, 2013 01:24 PM

          Unless they are coming from a can, as the OP suspects. Yuck.

          1. re: Kontxesi
            la2tokyo Aug 10, 2013 11:04 PM

            We are using fresh baby corn in the restaurant I'm working in right now and it is amazing. You don't even need to cook it if you don't want to. When people see it prepared from scratch they get really excited. Unfortunately when we put it in a dish half the customers leave it on the plate because they expect it to taste like canned baby corn lol. Costs us $0.50 per bite and people toss it. But, just so you know, if it's fresh it's very good!!!

            That being said, when I go to a cheap restaurant and I know it's canned I don't want it in my dish either. Someone please ban canned vegetables in restaurants!

            1. re: la2tokyo
              westsidegal Aug 11, 2013 08:45 PM

              i'll sign your petition to ban canned vegetables in restaurants.

              1. re: westsidegal
                klyeoh Aug 12, 2013 04:17 AM


        2. re: Kontxesi
          Kontxesi Aug 10, 2013 01:23 PM

          Meant to reply to op. Stupid phone. :-)

      2. g
        gfr1111 Aug 10, 2013 01:27 PM

        The baby corn ears are tasteless and I don't like their texture. I, too, have come to associate them with mediocre oriental restaurants. They seem to be canned and serve no purpose, other than as filler.

        2 Replies
        1. re: gfr1111
          Isolda Aug 10, 2013 01:32 PM

          I've only ever had them canned and don't care for them either. Pretty sure they're manufactured, not grown ;)

          1. re: gfr1111
            Puffin3 Aug 10, 2013 11:13 PM

            Yup Just 'bulk'>lower food overhead>higher profits>kids go to best universities>get best paying jobs>can afford to go to restaurants that don't serve canned baby corn. ;>))

          2. linguafood Aug 10, 2013 01:33 PM

            Hate them, and always pick them out. Just like canned bamboo. Blech.

            1. s
              Sirrith Aug 10, 2013 01:37 PM

              I dislike it. In fact, if I see them in a dish at an Asian restaurant, I often take it as a sign that the food there is below par and not authentic.

              1. RetiredChef Aug 10, 2013 10:45 PM

                I don’t like canned baby corn either but it is not necessarily a sign of mediocrity. Baby corn is used throughout Asian cuisine, especially in Thailand and China. When doing a culinary tour of Thailand we used it many times in both fresh and canned.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RetiredChef
                  Sirrith Aug 10, 2013 11:46 PM

                  I should probably explain that I have this view even though I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Here at least (I don't know about other parts of China), baby corn is not often used in good quality authentic local cuisine.

                2. EWSflash Aug 10, 2013 11:06 PM

                  I love them all. Grew them once, the fresh ones were beyond wonderful.

                  1. KarenDW Aug 11, 2013 12:22 AM

                    My DD would eat the things straight out of the can...

                    1. m
                      mwhitmore Aug 11, 2013 09:04 AM

                      Agree 100%. I see those things and think: "Uh-oh, amateur hour!"

                      1. luckyfatima Aug 11, 2013 03:00 PM

                        Fresh ones are yummy. I don't think I've had fresh ones at a restaurant, only at home.

                        My 4 year old likes the ones that come in restaurant stir fries and I happily give them all to her.

                        1. westsidegal Aug 11, 2013 08:43 PM

                          completely agree with you about the canned baby corn.
                          i've never seen it fresh, so i still have an open mind about how those would taste, but the canned ones, to my palate are NASTY and ruin everything they touch.

                          1. t
                            tastesgoodwhatisit Aug 12, 2013 01:42 AM

                            I find the fresh is much nicer than the canned. I usually serve it lightly cooked, and it has a nice but mild flavour that goes well with other vegetables.

                            (Actually, I've got some fresh stuff in the fridge right now)

                            1. DuchessNukem Aug 12, 2013 03:11 AM

                              Ah, I have a warm spot in my heart and/or belly still for canned baby corns.. it was a exotic "gateway vegetable" for a kid coming from a bland Irish-American food tradition. The sorta fetus-y look of it; the odd texture; wondering how it got there/was harvested. I still get a little excited when I see them in a dish even from a crappy restaurant.

                              1. jrvedivici Aug 12, 2013 06:32 AM

                                I think the over use of baby corn in mostly Asian/Chinese food is just another indication of China's disregard for children's rights.

                                I'm sure if you were to do a study on the long term affects of so many baby corn's being torn from their family it would really open the worlds eyes. China has a long standing policy of one child per family, while many corn family's have all their children taken for our collective culinary pleasure. It's an outrage.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                  Chemicalkinetics Aug 12, 2013 07:51 AM

                                  <I'm sure if you were to do a study on the long term affects of so many baby corn's being torn from their family>

                                  It is very cruel and inhuman.

                                2. RealMenJulienne Aug 13, 2013 06:29 AM

                                  I like baby corn. We always ate the canned stuff growing up so I see nothing wrong with it. It adds a nice crunch to some dishes and the rough surface is good at soaking up sauce in a dish. Hell, I like canned bamboo shoots too. I don't remember my mom ever using any other kind.

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