Hidden qualities of bean sprouts

What do oysters, chocolate, caviar, figs and champagne have in common? They are among the most famous food aphrodisiacs. From a Western (historical) perspective though. There are completely other aphrodisiacs. Be careful with bean sprouts for example. While sharing food and stories in the Food Culture class, we learnt it can bring you sons…

We had part 2 of the food assignment in which the other half of the participating students had to bring food and tell a personal story. We had a delicious lunch contrasting starkly the cheese and sandwich culture in the canteen. With half of the group consisting of international students, we had bites of a wide ranges of cuisines. We had haricot verts tied together with seaweed and served in a caramelised vinaigrette with bacon, an 800 year originally Taiwanese chicken recipe, lentil soup with locally grown fresh garlic, flat bread (like pizza) from the oven with slow cooked caramelised union, capers and olives from the Provence region in France, a sweet called Khoa from Nepal made by hours patiently steering milk while gently heated and Vietnamese rice paper rolls with bean sauce. 

The rolls, however, had quite a story attached. Anh, the Vietnamese student told us that among her parents generation it is believed that bean sprouts arouse sexual desire. In a culture which values sons above daughters some action had to be undertaken after two daughters were born. Her mum, therefore cooked rice paper rolls exclusively filled with bean sprouts (taugé in Dutch) for her dad in order to inspire a son. It worked, the third child born, was a boy. To balance unexpected desires erupting, she also included a specific Coriander, know and used by Monks for the opposite effect. Nothing inappropriate happened.

4 thoughts on “Hidden qualities of bean sprouts

  1. Nice article- you left out ‘asperges’ from the list of (visual) aphrodisiacs. I’m curious about the coriander effect though- does it reduce desire or change the x,y chromosone balance? As a regular consumer of coriander I think I need to know!

  2. Thanks for sharing these lessons, I enjoy reading them! Another aphrodisiacs on the list… in Mozambique it’s the baobab fruit.

  3. Very interesting! It’s so cool to read these food stories, it’s such a nice and friendly way to share in each oher’s cultures!

  4. Daniel, a Chinese student of the course provided me with an additional and correcting explanation on my phrase above of “the 800 yrs old Taiwanese recipe”. In fact, the official name, he writes, is Stewed Chicken with Three Cups Sauce. It indeed has approximately 800 years history but it is for mainland China. The story is about in the end of Song Dynasty when the Mongolian army invaded Song and captured one serious politician Wen Tianxiang. Wen refused to surrender and serve for the Mongolian government, so he was judged death. When an old lady from Jiang Xi province heard about his coming death, she brought chicken meat and 3 cups of rice wine to visit him and cooked 3 cups chicken for him. That was the initial Stewed Chicken with Three Cups Sauce. The dish is now more popular in Taiwan after the recipe spread there. In fact it is a Chinese dish.

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