I have always wondered what are those dull looking roots sold at the supermarket. So, yesterday when I was at the wet market with this kind vegetable seller, he got me into discovering a new vegetable. He has this box of root vegetable in a box with sawdust (to absorb moisture, I think).
He told me it is fresh wai san and makes a very healthy and good soup. I have used dried wai san in my Chinese herbal soups but never know that fresh ones taste great. The dried ones are tasteless and I usually discard without eating.
The ugly looking piece of root. It is very slimey and hard to hold when wet. I skinned it, slice it into pieces and cook it as a soup with some spareribs and red dates. I learnt that wai san is part of the yam family. You can read more about it from Wiki. Lesson learnt : Skin and cut the wai san first before washing. Otherwise, it is like a piece of eel.
The wai san gives a nice, wholesome taste to the soup. It is good too, without being flour-y (unlike yam) or have that earthy smell like white radish. So, don’t underestimate the goodness of an ugly vegetable! 😛
Wai San is going to be my regular purchase from now on.