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Chinese Vegetables Illustrated


liuzhou
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1 minute ago, liuzhou said:

 

The main trouble with term 'bok choy' is that, in Chinese, it simply means 'cabbage' which covers hundreds of different varieties.  It's a family, not a type.

Indeed. Here (Ontario) of course it is still considered by some an exotic vegetable!  But it is definitely gaining in popularity and is much more readily available in regular grocery stores these days.
I find the taste of the various types I have tried to be very similar so if you like one chances are you will like them all. But the dark green curly babies just seem tastier and are much more attractive on the plate. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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Whatever the name I know I'd put it in my cart. Beautifully vibrant. I don't think I've seen it before but the big Chinese market here (99 Ranch) tends to put the various choys in plastic bags with several in a bag. I think it keeps the ladies who dig through piles looking for "perfection" from bruising up the whole bin. 

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This morning I had an organic baby bok choy delivery from Whole Foods.  The specimens are huge:  14 inches/0.36 meters long, whereas the baby bok choy I typically buy are more like 4-5 inches in length.  One choy would have been quite enough.  I thought at first the amazon shopper had substituted bok choy for what I ordered.  However these brassica indeed look like baby bok choy -- baby bok choy grown up and on steroids.

 

And it's not like I didn't already have a cabbage in the hydrator.  Fortunately my new rice cooker is supposed to arrive tomorrow.

 

 

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23 hours ago, heidih said:

Whatever the name I know I'd put it in my cart. Beautifully vibrant. I don't think I've seen it before but the big Chinese market here (99 Ranch) tends to put the various choys in plastic bags with several in a bag. I think it keeps the ladies who dig through piles looking for "perfection" from bruising up the whole bin. 

That’s the one thing that I find to be a problem at 99 Ranch. I love the place but need just a few bok choi or gai lan for a stir fry or such. They do only sell them packaged, with enough for us for 3-4 meals. Luckily they’re pretty cheap so I buy them anyway. 

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On 6/28/2022 at 10:50 PM, Midlife said:

That’s the one thing that I find to be a problem at 99 Ranch. I love the place but need just a few bok choi or gai lan for a stir fry or such. They do only sell them packaged, with enough for us for 3-4 meals. Luckily they’re pretty cheap so I buy them anyway. 

 

That is one of the reasons I seldom buy veg in supermarkets. I live alone and don't need 18 tomatoes, thank you!

 

Instead, I use the local wet market where I can buy one tomato if need be (I never have!) or just enough of what I need. They all know me and happily oblige. I've been going there 25 years. The supermarket staff changes every day and they don't know me from Adam and don't care, either. (Not blaming them as people!)

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Posted (edited)

OK. Update.

Here is a picture hopefully showing the cup nature of this veg. You don't, I think, ever get that with Shanghai Greens.

鹤斗白2.jpg

 

And here it is cooked.

808516076_3.thumb.jpg.d98e72f6355af4ca3f6bcb79a3e4f640.jpg
 

It would be good to stuff, I guess! Otherwise, it just tastes like a minerally cabbage.

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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On 6/26/2022 at 9:19 PM, liuzhou said:

Here is a brassica variety I don't recall seeing before. In Chinese, it is 鹤斗白 (hè dǒu bái, which is untranslatable into anything sensible*), but I have been unable to find a proper English name or a more specific scientific name. Each head is about the same size as what many of you call baby bok choy**.

 

204867188_.thumb.jpg.c768966b9a6d5953873df53cb4b5612e.jpg

鹤斗白

 

The leaves of this one are darker and curled and the whole head forms a sort of cup shape (which is the meaning of the second character.

 

I'll be having it with my dinner later and shall report on the  taste.

 

* The name translates literally as 'crane (the bird) cup-shaped white)

** but the Chinese don't - it's called Shanghai greens here. Baby bok choy here is something different. See up thread.

This looks like what I buy once a week and use primarily for stir fry. Usually we can get it baby size, like baby bok choi, but sometimes it is bigger. The market typically has it next to or in close proximity to bok choi and they label this dark curly one choi sum, or choy sum hue. I  prefer it to what I think of as baby bok choi, which is of a similar shape but a pale green and not curly, at least in these parts.  

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My problem with 'bok choy' or 'bok choi', however you spell it, is that it's almost meaningless in Chinese. My problem; not yours.

Bok Choy is Cantonese, a language spoken by 4.5% of Chinese people. The majority language is what you probably know as Mandarin Chinese, another unknown term in China.

 

In Mandarin, it is 白菜 (bái cài) which literally means 'white vegetable', but more pragmatically just means 'brassica'. It covers literally scores of vegetables.

So when you tell me something is bok choy, I have no idea what you are talking about. But one thing I do know. What most Americans and British etc call 'baby bok choy' is never called that in China!

As I already said, and before the wicked witch berates me again, I repeat - call it what you will, but please try to understand my confusion.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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35 minutes ago, liuzhou said:

As I already said, and before the wicked witch berates me again, I repeat - call it what you will, but please try to understand my confusion.

I don’t think any of us are trying to confound you. We are equally at a loss for a way to distinguish various greens, especially Asian greens. But we’re not all that much better with our “own” vegetables. Ask three people what they mean by “chicory” and you will likely get three different answers. Is it “rapini” or “broccoli rabe”. The list goes on. 

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Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

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12 minutes ago, Anna N said:

I don’t think any of us are trying to confound you. We are equally at a loss for a way to distinguish various greens, especially Asian greens. But we’re not all that much better with our “own” vegetables. Ask three people what they mean by “chicory” and you will likely get three different answers. Is it “rapini” or “broccoli rabe”. The list goes on. 

 

I never thought that anyone was trying to confound me.

I remember the great swede / turnip debate in the UK, then we Scots threw  'neeps' into the argument just to screw with people's minds!

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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37 minutes ago, Anna N said:

Ask three people what they mean by “chicory” and you will likely get three different answers. Is it “rapini” or “broccoli rabe”.

I think it means escarole.

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1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

 

I never thought that anyone was trying to confound me.

I remember the great swede / turnip debate in the UK, then we Scots threw  'neeps' into the argument just to screw with people's minds!

 

2 hours ago, liuzhou said:

My problem with 'bok choy' or 'bok choi', however you spell it, is that it's almost meaningless in Chinese. My problem; not yours.

Bok Choy is Cantonese, a language spoken by 4.5% of Chinese people. The majority language is what you probably know as Mandarin Chinese, another unknown term in China.

 

In Mandarin, it is 白菜 (bái cài) which literally means 'white vegetable', but more pragmatically just means 'brassica'. It covers literally scores of vegetables.

So when you tell me something is bok choy, I have no idea what you are talking about. But one thing I do know. What most Americans and British etc call 'baby bok choy' is never called that in China!

As I already said, and before the wicked witch berates me again, I repeat - call it what you will, but please try to understand my confusion.

The confusion over the various greens seems ubiquitous. Several Asian or Chinese cookbooks that I have provide illustrations of all kinds of leafy greens, cabbages, etc. One book contradicts another, and so on seemingly endlessly. And the best I can do is let you know what my market (big and popular but not specifically Asian) calls my preferred "cabbage." Shopping in Oakland Chinatown, where the variety of leafy greens is enormous or course,  I just have to go by what I like and not worry about what it is called. If it is lovely and fresh it is worth a chance, since these greens never break the bank.    

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