Start Learning Chinese and Making Progress Today!

by & filed under Chinese Culture, Chinese Food.

Chinese cabbage

Chinese cabbage called Napa Cabbage can refer to two distinct varieties of Chinese leaf vegetables used often in Chinese cuisine. These vegetables are both related to the Western cabbage, and are of the same species as the common turnip. Both have many variations in name, spelling and scientific classification, especially the "bok choy" or chinensis variety.

1. Bok choy (Chinese: 白菜; literally "white vegetable"); succulent, white stems with dark green leaves.
2. Choy sum (Chinese: 菜心; literally "vegetable heart"), this brassica refers to a small, delicate version of bok choy. In appearance it is more similar to rapini or broccoli rabe, than the typical bok choy. In English, it can also be called "Flowering Chinese Cabbage" due to the yellow flowers that comes with this particular vegetable. The term "choy sum" is sometimes used to describe the stem of any Chinese cabbage, or the soft inner core of a bok choywith the tougher outer leaves removed.

Chinese cabbage also refers to Baby bok choy, Shanghai bok choy, or mei quin choi (In Chinese: 上海白菜; Japanese: 青梗菜, chingensai). In Shanghai and other eastern China provinces, it is simply called qīngcài (青菜; literally blue/green vegetable) or qīngjiāngcài (青江菜; literally "blue/green river vegetable").

Nutritional Value

Chinese cabbage, raw(chinensis, pak choi)

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy: 54 kJ (13 kcal)
Carbohydrates: 2.2 g
Dietary fiber: 1.0 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Vitamin A: equiv.243 μg (27%)
Vitamin A: 4468 IU
Vitamin C: 45 mg (75%)
Calcium: 105 mg (11%)
Iron: 0.80 mg (6%)
Magnesium: 19 mg (5%)
Sodium: 65 mg (3%)

Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

Bok choy contains a high amount of Vitamin A per 4 oz. serving - about 3500 IU. Bok choy also contains approximately 50 mg of Vitamin C per 4 oz. serving.

Chinese Cabbage Recipe

Spicy Stir-fry Chinese Cabbage

This is a very popular food in northern China. Chile adds heat to this stir-fry recipe with Chinese cabbage, also called Napa Cabbage or by its Chinese name, Bok Choy and green onions. Depends on the portion of Chile, it can be mild or hot.


• 1 pound Chinese Cabbage
• 2 green onion (spring onions)
• 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
• Several dry Chile, according to your taste
• 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, dry sherry, or white wine
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 cup water
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 - 2 teaspoons soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed in 4 teaspoons water


1. Rinse the Chinese cabbage and pat dry.
2. Cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces.
3. Rinse the green onion and cut into 1-inch lengths.
4. Cut the dry Chile into pieces
5. Heat the wok and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is hot, add the dry Chile pieces. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the cabbage.
6. Stir-fry the cabbage for 1 minute, splashing with the rice wine or dry sherry and stirring in the salt.
7. Add the water. Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer the cabbage for 3 minutes.
8. Turn the heat back to medium-high. Stir in the sugar and green onion. Stir in the soy sauce.
9. Push the cabbage to the sides of the wok. Give the cornstarch and water mixture a quick stir and add it in the middle, stirring quickly to thicken. Cook briefly to mix everything together.
10. Serve hot.

Chinese cabbage is widely used in home made Chinese food, especially in northern China. It is nutritious contain rich vitamin C and A and it is easy to cook. Have a try and give your family a surprise!

Chinese Name

白菜(bái cài)

Interested in learning Chinese? Start with the Free Chinese Lessons!

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)