Lotus plants are not only incredibly gorgeous: their seeds, roots, and leaves are also edible and are known for their health benefits.
During our first trip to Thailand, we were mystified by the sight of a street vendor pushing a cart full of bagged lotus pods. People soon started gathering around him, and we were left wondering what they could possibly do with the pods. Home décor? Altar offerings?
As it turns out, lotus pods contain the plant’s seeds, which look a bit like chickpeas. They are a good source of amino acids, iron, and manganese. They are also known for providing an instant energy boost.
Throughout Thailand, you can find lotus seeds prepared in different ways. Supermarkets sell them as snacks, and you can eat them like you would eat roasted soy nuts or corn. Look for the little bags or plastic jars labeled “mai” in the snack aisle!
Look for pre-packaged lotus seeds in the snack aisle of local supermarkets.
Commercially packaged versions also exist and are great to snack on during long bus or train trips.