I came across the lobok at the S.F. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market a couple of months ago. This small root--it fit in the palm of my hand--was so unassuming, so humble in its quiet sandpaper dullness, that I nearly passed it over in my excitement to reach my fingers into a box of its flashier cousins, the giant white Asian radish known as daikon. But then the farmers set out some sample slices, and the ring of brilliant green that encircled the lobok's inside flesh caught my eye and drew my hand.
Like the daikon (a Japanese name; "lobok" is Chinese), the lobok has a spicier bite than the European radish, but I also find it sweeter than the daikon. I put my slices into a delicious sandwich made with Acme walnut bread, ricotta cheese, mustard greens, and marinated red peppers, an idea lifted from my friend Nick, who takes photographs and draws pictures of lovely things. I had almost ignored the lobok's lonely hairs of wisdom but was glad to have paused for a second look. Here's to free samples at the farmers market!