“The only thing I like about chestnuts roasting on an open fire is the romance of the song,” says rworange. They taste like unseasoned yuca—bland and boring starch.

Chinese chestnuts, however, are entirely different beasts. They’re tiny, scarcely larger than a hazelnut, and my, are they good. Each bite is filled with sweet, smoky wonderfulness. “When I reheated them in the microwave, a heady aroma perfumed the kitchen,” says rworange. “I actually prefer them at room temperature, since there are more perceptible flavor nuances. But either way, good.”

bulavinaka says that our homegrown chestnuts are bland because most of the native trees were wiped out by blight long ago, and the chestnuts grown today are bred to be blight-resistant, not tasty.

Even the vacuum-sealed bags of roasted chestnuts available at Asian markets are tasty, says justagthing. They live in the snack section, and usually cost about a dollar a bag. And hannaone notes that the Korean roasted chestnut is probably the same variety as the Chinese. Korean chestnuts develop very good flavor from being roasted over an ondau, a round charcoal brick.

Board Links: Amazing Chinese chestnuts, bland American chestnuts, Japanese chestnuts & European chestnuts

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