Common Asian Vegetables


Chinese White Cabbage also known as Chinese chard and Chinese white cabbage, has fleshy white stems and leaf ribs and green flat leaves. It has a slightly mustardy taste. Separate the leaves, wash well and drain. The white stems can be sliced thinly and eaten raw. A smaller type is called baby bok choy or Shanghai bok choy.

Napa Cabbage also known as celery cabbage and Chinese cabbage, has a long shape and closely packed broad, pale green leaves with wide white stems. It has a delicate mustard-like flavor. This vegetable always used in Thai stir-fried vegetable, and Kim Chi.
Chinese Flowering Cabbage [Pak Khwang Tung]

Chinese flowering cabbage is slimmer than bok choy and has a smooth green leaves and pale green stems with clusters of tiny yellow flowers on the tips of the inner shoots. The leaves and flowers cook quickly and have light, sweet mustard flower; the stems are crunchy and juicy.
Chinese Broccoli [Pak Kha Nar]

Chinese Broccoli has smooth round stems sprouting large dark green leaves and small, white flowers. The juicy stems trimmed of most of their leaves, is the piece of plant which is most commonly eaten. GAI LARN has the similar flavor to western broccoli, but without the characteristic large flower heads.

Crunchy in texture and with a subtle, refreshing taste, these are the edible young shoots of certain type of bamboo. Fresh bamboo shoots are hard to get and, if not already prepared, must be peeled then parboiled to remove toxic hydrocyanic acid boil whole or in chunks for 5 minutes or until they no longer taste bitter, Canned and bottled are the one most often used.


BLACK FUNGUS [Cloud ear, Hed Hoo Noo]
This tree fungus has a little flavor of its own, but is valued for is crunchy texture. It is most commonly available in its dried form, which looks like wrinkled black paper. Before use, soak in warm water for 15-30 minutes, until the fungus swells to about five times its size. They should then be rinsed several times to remove any sand.
The sprouts of the soya or mung bean are crunchy and tender. They can be grown at home, they are easy to find in most supermarket though. Beansprouts can be replaced by other fresh vegetables, finely sliced, if necessary.
DAIKON [Hua Chai Tau]
Much used in Japanese and Chinese cooking. It has a similar taste and texture to ordinary radish and is grated and added to stewed dishes or mixed with finely chopped chilies as a relish.
GARLIC [Kra Tiem]
Garlic flavor is strongest when the cloves are squeezed and their juice extracted, slightly less strong when the cloves are grated or finely chopped, even less strong when the clove are merely sliced, and mildest when whole unbroken cloves are used. In addition, the longer garlic is cooked, the milder it becomes.

Garlic contains significant amount of vitamin C, calcium and protein. It is also rich in potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Medicinally, it is believed that garlic can reduce blood pressure and cleanse the blood of excess glucose. It is also said to alleviate flu, sore throats and bronchial congestion.

GARLIC BULB  [Kra Tiem Thon]

This type of garlic is preferred for pickling with honey has bulbs with just one clove. These garlic rounds are not a separate variety of garlic but a natural phenomenon whereby a GARLIC BULB does not divide into many cloves. In the sorting of pickled garlic, 20 to 30 kilograms yields only 1 to 2 kilograms of garlic rounds, and therefore, they are expensive.




Thai Eggplant is eaten with Nam Prik or Chili Paste. There are a number of types ranging in size from that of Ping-Pong ball down to that of a marble. One small type is called Ma-Kheua Pro.

CHERRY EGG PLANT  [Ma Kheua Phuang]
It grows in clusters and, when yet unripe, look like large peas.
They have pod up to 60 cm long. These are eaten both fresh and cooked and are at their best when young and slender. Mostly used in Thai Papaya Salad or Som Tum.
It bears a pod which in cross section looks like a rectangle that has a fringe-like extension at each corner, the “wings” of the bean.
These white-fleshed roots of a variety of water grass are prized for their semi-sweet taste and crisp texture, which is retained when cooked. They are used throughout China and Southeast Asia in both savory and sweet dishes. Available canned and sometimes fresh; cut off the woody base, peel away papery skin, and cover in water to stop discoloring.

They are also called Chinese dried black mushrooms. Their distinctive woody, smoky tastes are intensified by the drying process and they are rarely eaten fresh.

Straw Mushrooms are named for their growing environment –straw- and are cultivated throughout Asia. They have globe-shaped caps, are stemless and have a musty flavor. They are available in cans but need to be drained and rinse before use.

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