Bamboo has a very high cellulose cotent–the main constituent of wood–which makes it very hard to digest, particularly for humans. Bamboo shoots, the tender tips of new growth, are quite edible and are easier to digest than the more mature wood-like bamboo culm (bamboo is actually a grass so it does not make wood).
Bamboo isn’t difficult to digest, but it depends on what part of the bamboo. Bamboo represents much of the diet of the Giant Panda and the Red Panda, and also for gorillas and chimps as well. The shoots of bamboo (new bamboo culms that come out of the ground) are edible for humans. They are used in numerous Asian dishes and broths, and are available in supermarkets in various sliced forms, both fresh and canned version. The bamboo shoot in its fermented state forms an important ingredient in many cuisines across Asia. For example in Indonesia, the bamboo shoots are sliced thinly and then boilee with santan and spices to make a dish called gulai rebung.
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