Everyday Food Blog

WTF: What's that food? (Update: It's a New Zealand yam!)

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Okay, we're just going to say it - today's WTF looks a little bit like maggots. But they're not! (That's your first hint.) My parents spotted these bug doppelgangers at a grocery store in New Zealand, one of the few countries where they are grown. Any ideas? UPDATE: Answer after the jump!

It's a type of tuber that goes by two names: In New Zealand they’re called New Zealand yams, but in the Andes mountains, where they were first grown, they’re called oca. Though it looks like something you’d only be convinced to eat on Fear Factor, oca is (culinarily-speaking) pretty much just like a potato. You could boil or roast these babies and, in a blind taste test, people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference between them and regular old Yukon golds! In parts of Peru and Bolivia, they’re a staple of local diets because they can grow in the region’s rocky soil and they have high levels of vitamin C and potassium. So, while you probably won’t be seeing these next to the Russets in your grocery store anytime soon, at least you won’t run away screaming if you stumble on a few during your next trek through New Zealand or the Andes.


Comments (3)

  • avatar

    Fresh Turmeric root?

  • avatar

    I know, I know! Oca, it's a type of potato, they also grow it in Peru.

  • avatar

    Actually they don't taste a bit like potato or sweet potato (at least as I know them in New Zealand) - they are much sweeter and the texture is very different. They are yummy, we have them all the time. My favourite way of cooking them is oven baked.

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