Can you identify this food (?) someone left in my office refrigerator?
February 9, 2015 2:59 PM   Subscribe

This uncovered bowl of mystery things has been sitting in the communal refrigerator in my office all day. At first glance, I thought they were shrimp, but... they are not shrimp. Link and more inside.

Here is the stuff.

For scale reference, this is a small container like you might bring your lunch from home in. These things are about the circumference of a skinny shrimp.

Ox tail has come up a couple of times, but this stuff is not so meat-like, it's more like an articulated crustacean shell, or smooth like an organ (a lot of people have suggested intestines). The other popular responses have been Facehugger legs, or "THAT IS HORRIFYING."

The kitchen is shared by a large number of people, of various cultures, so I have no clue who this may belong to, but my immediate coworkers and I are fascinated. I've already posted the picture on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and got no real responses, but made a lot of other people curious! Please help us solve the mystery!
posted by LolaGeek to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
looks a lot like pickled bamboo shoots
posted by monologish at 3:01 PM on February 9, 2015


Huh. The first thing I thought was some kind of unusual sausage, though it looks a little too... glassy? for that. Intestines are a solid guess.
posted by Itaxpica at 3:01 PM on February 9, 2015


Yeah, bamboo shoots, maybe old ones.
posted by Huck500 at 3:14 PM on February 9, 2015


Stewed bamboo shoots. Usually they are sliced so they don't appear quite so horrifying. :-)

Here is an example:
https://flushingflavors.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/liangs-kitchen/
posted by LittleMy at 3:23 PM on February 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Another candidate is lotus root - especially pickled or stewed lotus rootlets, which are small, knobby and kind of worm-like.

You realise, of course, that you're going to have to sample one and slice it open. For science!
posted by ninazer0 at 3:34 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


That is not lotus root. It's bamboo shoots. Lotus root is generally less finger-width and more golf ball width or wider. Also it looks more like sausage links on a chain of sausages than a bony/lumpy finger.
posted by kalessin at 4:06 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone, the bamboo shoots definitely appear to be the closest match so far! If they were pickled in chili, which also seems to be a thing, that would explain the fleshy color.

I will admit, I left a post-it note (and pen!) in the fridge with the message "Can you tell us what this is?" but there was no response by the time I left today. If it's still there tomorrow, I will consider disassembling one, for science.
posted by LolaGeek at 6:36 PM on February 9, 2015


It's bamboo shoots. No doubt about it. Source: me, Asian, likes baby bamboo shoots.
posted by stellathon at 6:56 PM on February 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


Definitely bamboo shoots. Check out the second photo in here
posted by extramundane at 6:57 PM on February 9, 2015


Yep, bamboo. Worthless as food, but boy do they taste good.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:32 PM on February 9, 2015


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