Water chestnuts are native to China and widely cultivated in paddy fields in southern China and parts of the Philippines.
The small, rounded corms have a crispy white flesh and can be eaten raw, slightly boiled, grilled, pickled, or tinned. They can also be ground into a flour form used for making water chestnut cake, which is common in dim sum cuisine.
Water chestnuts are unusual as they remain crisp even after being cooked or canned. They do this because their cell walls are cross-linked and strengthened by certain phenolic compounds.