New feature: Asian Green Vegetable Guide

We all need to eat more green vegetables. In fact, they are an essential part of any meal. Most of my posts tend to revolve around main dishes, often with meat, but at our house we almost always have a green leafy vegetable accompaniment. It’s not only because it is good for us, but because the vegetable flavors and textures pair beautifully with other things.

Fortunately, Philadelphia Asian markets have an amazing abundance of vegetables. The selection is so big however, that it’s kind of hard to get to know what is what–especially when things are not labeled. Beyond that, how do know if you’re going to like them, and how on earth do you cook with them?

I have created the bare-bones of a guide to Asian green vegetables, and that guide can be accessed through the link above “Green Vegetable Guide”. It is not complete by any means, but I expect to add to it over time. I will include vegetable images, ideas of how to cook with it, and where to find it in Philadelphia.

Here are some general hints to help you understand the vegetable section, (which can be confusing!):

  1. Many, if not most Asian vegetable names in English come from Cantonese words. Choy means “leafy vegetable”. Bokchoy means literally “white leafy vegetable” (i.e. cabbage). You will notice that bokchoy‘s range can be pretty large and with many variants, sometime even including Napa cabbage. Choysum means “heart of the vegetable” (i.e. the inner leaves). As you might imagine, the actual vegetable can vary. To make things even more confusing, Chinese dialects have different names for vegetables. In Philadelphia though, most markets that label things use the Cantonese version.
  2. It will seem at first that there is an overwhelming variety of vegetables. Upon closer examination, most of the varieties are actually the same vegetable in different stages of life: baby-size, medium, and large. Small is generally marked with the character for”tips”(苗) or “small” (小), middle size is the normal vegetable name, and large is marked with “big” (大).
  3. Sometimes things are labeled wrong, or things are in the wrong box. It happens.

Enjoy the new feature to the blog!

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About David Dettmann

Food obsessed and frequently nostalgic.
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One Response to New feature: Asian Green Vegetable Guide

  1. Pingback: Edible Southeast Asian tree and bush leaves | Asian Markets of Philadelphia

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