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Lucky Bamboo

"What Is That?"

David EngIf you've walked the streets of New York's Chinatown, and you're like us, you've found yourself standing and staring at something and wondering, "What is that?" Hey, Chinese tourists must wonder the same when confronted with apple-bobbing, luxury pet hotels and Hot Pockets®.

Fortunately, Explore Chinatown can lead us off the beaten path. After you...

"What is that?"

luckky bamboo

"That's Lucky Bamboo."

“Bamboo is a plant much-admired in Chinese culture for its adaptable nature.  While firm and straight, bamboo can stand up to the heat of summer and the cold of winter, support more weight than most other woods and regenerate itself after being cut. China is said to have more than 400 species of bamboo that, since the 16th Century B.C., have been used for everything from bows and arrows to chopsticks, shoes, beds, lanterns, toys, screens, musical instruments, houses and gardens.  Before paper, bamboo was the writing medium of choice. Bamboo’s qualities of strength and adaptability, along with the indescribable tranquility of bamboo forests, have over the centuries inspired artists to render the plant in paintings and poets to immortalize it in verse. Bamboo Culture Festivals in China feature exhibitions of carvings, poems and paintings.

“You may recall the remarkable fight scene in the film 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,' which took place atop peaks of bamboo—that scene was set in the Bamboo Sea Scenic Area in Sichuan Province. Bamboo shoots have long been a popular dish because of their crispness and fresh, sweet taste. Bamboo shoots also contain vitamins, sugar, fat, and protein. Speaking of which, bamboo makes up 99% of a panda’s diet, according to a Snapple cap I got last week.”     

Where to get lucky bamboo

Many gift stores in Chinatown carry bamboo plants and items made from bamboo.  Check the gift store listings here.  


Have you ever wondered "What Is That?" 
Send your questions and we'll find out, if possible