Menma is a popular Japanese condiment made of fermented bamboo shoots. It has a fibrous, crunchy texture and is a topping for classic Japanese ramen noodles.
Menma (メンマ, 麺麻) is a food product made of lacto-fermented bamboo shoots. Other names include preserved Japanese bamboo shoots or pickled, seasoned bamboo shoots, and shinachiku (支那竹 “Shina bamboo,” “Shina” is an archaic name for China in Japanese).
Table of Contents
What Is Menma
Menma is dried and fermented bamboo shoots. It’s a common ramen topping, along with chashu, ramen egg, and nori seaweed. You can also use it to season fried rice and stir-fries or enjoy it as an appetizer or snack.
Traditional menma is made by boiling bamboo shoots, sealing them in a container to ferment for about a month, then sun-drying for a few days. My quick menma recipe uses boiled bamboo shoots and skips the fermenting process but doesn’t contain preservatives and additives like commercial brands.
The bamboo shoots are a different species found in Japan. It only grows in humid subtropical climates, such as Taiwan and southern China. It has a higher starch content, which is necessary for fermentation.
What Does It Taste Like
It’s subtly sweet and savory with earthy flavors due to the seasoning, which includes sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and salt. It’s slightly crunchy and fibrous.
How To Use
Most come seasoned, so drain the excess marinade and use it immediately. Top over ramen bowls or add to stir-fries or fried rice for crunchiness and flavor.
Recipes Using Menma
Where To Buy
How to Make Homemade Menma
How To Store
Keep open bottles or packets of store-bought menma in the refrigerator and store homemade menma in an airtight container.