It must have been lotus season in Cambodia because people were selling them everywhere as snacks. These women were hawking them outside our bus at the Cambodia-Vietnam border.
To eat them, you have to rip open the fibrous flower head.
Then you peel off the seed’s little green jacket. You’re left with a pure-white rounded cylinder that looks like a little pill or maybe an earplug. They have a slightly foam-like texture, like a mushroom but crunchier, and a mild planty taste like cucumber.
It wasn’t my favorite snack ever (I think that would still be the glorious curry puff), but it was fun to try, given the importance of the lotus to Asian culture and religion — and the number of lotus statues, bas-reliefs and paintings we’ve seen over the last few weeks.