Mung (or moong) beans originated in India and Mongolia and are now cultivated throughout South and Southeast Asia.
They are used throughout the Asian continent in sweet and savory preparations. In Hong Kong, for example, mung bean paste is used to make ice creams.
The ubiquitous bean sprouts that can be found in most supermarkets these days are actually mung bean sprouts. Mung beans are left in water for 4 hours of daytime light before leaving them for several hours in the dark. These bean sprouts are used in Chinese cuisine, often stir-fried and also used to fill Vietnamese spring rolls or to garnish a pho.
Mung bean starch is extracted from the beans to make transparent noodles also called thread or glass noodles.
Where can you find mung beans?
You should be able to find whole mung beans in most markets, including Whole Foods or Sprouts in the United States, as well as in Asian or Indian markets.