Cai What? a short guide to various packaged Chinese preserved mustard greens/shoots

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,721
1,177
Joined Mar 29, 2002
This cropped up in my news feed yesterday

They include a pretty handy discussion of the common preserved mustards you'll find at Asian grocers and how they can be interchanged.

Yibin yacai, the fermented vegetable that flavors the meat topping, is made from the sprouting greens of one of dozens of cardamine species cultivated around China (cardamine belongs to the mustard family). In Yibin, a city in southern Sichuan province, yacai is double-fermented with sugar, giving it unique complexity. You can find “Yibin yacai” or “suimi yacai” (“loose rice sprout vegetable”) sold in the pickle aisle of good Chinese supermarkets, or online, but if you need a substitute, look for one of its cousins. Mei cai or meigan cai is another fermented mustard green from southern China, and xue cai or xuelihong from Jiangnan is sweeter but also reasonable. Zhacai is another Sichuanese fermented mustard, but I’d consider it a last resort — it’s typically spicy, which yacai isn’t, and it’s made from mustard stems rather than greens, which gives it an entirely different texture.
As I recall, mei cai is dried.

If you want a video version. Chinese Cooking Demystified did a similar taste test.


Do look in their description box for some useful details and shopping comparisons on Amazon.

YACAI 芽菜
English Names: Dried Vegetable, Fermented Mustard, Preserved Mustard Stems
Made from: Mustard Greens


ZHACAI 榨菜
English Names: Sichuan Preserved Vegetable, Preserved Mustard
Made From: B. juncea subsp. tsatsai var. tumida



GANLANCAI 橄榄菜
English Names: PS Olive Vegetable, Preserved Mustard in Brine
Made from: Chinese Olive Greens and Mustard Greens


XUECAI 雪菜
English Names: Snow Vegetable, Pickled Cabbage, Preserved Pot Herb Mustard
Made from: Brassica juncea var. crispifolia


SUANCAI 酸菜
English Names: Sour Mustard, Pickled Mustard
Made from: Mustard Greens -or- Napa Cabbage

MEICAI 梅菜
English Names: Dried Mustard Leaf, Dried Fermented Greens, Dried and Pickled Greens
Made from: Small Mustard Greens


DATOUCAI 大头菜
English Names: Preserved Turnip, Preserved Radish
Made from: Turnip

Unavailable online, can sometimes be found in Chinese supermarkets under Cantonese name "Tai Tau Choy"

DONGCAI 冬菜
English Names: Tianjin Preserved Vegetable, Tianjin Winter Vegetable, Tianjin Salted Cabbage
Made from: Napa Cabbage



LAHPET
English Names: Cultured Tea Leaf, Pickled Tea
Made from: Tea Leaves
 

kuan

Moderator
Staff member
7,152
563
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I love preserved greens, but I always buy just whatever looks good. :D Thanks Hatch!
 
4,743
1,341
Joined Nov 5, 2007
This is what I used for my steamed pork belly and greens in the December challenge.

20220105_064449.jpg

It says marinated, not fermented. But they were tasty, whatever they might be called.

mjb.
 
Top Bottom