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An Intro to Asian Produce

  • Writer's picturePrincess Produce

Let's demystify more Asian greens. Today we have White Bok Choy. In the picture below – it's the greens on the left side. (on the right side is the Shanghai Bok Choy) Lately the growers are growing larger versions so that one plant can weight more, which equals more margins per product. On the consumer side, it's easier to prep. You just cut the bottom off where all the dirt gathers. (But you're cutting off 20% of the plant which you've paid for!🤷🏻‍♀️)

Here are some examples of White Bok Choy and what to look for. Check the top of leaves to confirm that the edges are not rotting or mushy. Look at the bottoms. White is very very fresh, yellowish is still ok, just cut the bottom off. As long as the product is not slimy on the bottom. Also as a disclaimer, I live near NYC chinatown, i am kinda spoiled by what is available. Little FYI; produce is restocked DAILY in chinatown! For those not in the know, most NYC chinatown stalls lack large refrigeration, so almost everything must be sold and produce is restocked every morning.

Baby Bok Choy goes well with any proteins, beef, chicken, pork even seafood! From stir frys, soups and BBQ. The vegetable itself holds up very well to a variety of cooking methods. To prep; most people now just cut the bottom off, so it's easier to clean or you can cut in half lengthwise but make sure to soak, and wash (3x) to get the dirt that is gathered at the bottom. No one likes sandy gritty vegetables.

I'm pretty much a lazy cook. What this means is my vegetables are usually washed, chopped and sautéed in oil, garlic, a splash of dry cooking wine and salt to taste.

So what's that watery sauce on the bottom? When you wash the vegetables leave it a little damp, not dripping wet. If it's dripping wet it will turn the stir fry into steaming vegetables.

  • Writer's picturePrincess Produce

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

The Shanghai Bok Choy 上海菜 is the most commonly brought and used vegetable in Chinese cuisine. It has a green bulbous stem and darker green oval leaves. The Shanghai is not to be confused with the White Bok Choy 奶油白菜. (there's no differentiation in non-Asian markets).

In the supermarkets you will find the full sized Shanghai or the "baby" Shanghai. Now let's explain "baby" or "苗". The "苗" means sprout or baby. It is the younger form of the vegetable. There is a future post with examples for this topic. Now back to the Great Shanghai! Below are all examples of Shanghai Bok Choy. Now most Shanghai is grown in Mexico by small to mid size growers. There are also your local farms that grow them in California, Florida, NY and NJ. (that I am aware of.)

So, how do we know where our Shanghai is grown? We don't. Currently many of the Asian supermarkets (brick and mortar or online) do not label where their produce is from, since it is the consumer's responsibility to be aware. Therefore, please wash all your produce thoroughly!

When choosing your vegetable, look at the bottom where it's cut. Depending on the vegetable it should be a white-green. It will turn yellow-ish the longer it sits. Every product reacts differently depending on how its handled and stored. From left to right: OLD, not so old, and the sample on the right is the freshest.

Shanghai Bok Choy can be used in a simple saute with garlic and salt, or braised with meat, the middle picture is braised porkbelly with whole Shanghai. Or bring the water to a rolling boil, add Shanghai cut or whole, boil for 2-3 mins depending on size of vegetable, drain, plate and drizzle with Oyster sauce or ponzu.

  • Writer's picturePrincess Produce

Updated: Nov 7, 2022

Ever walk into Chinatown and wonder what are all these vegetables? What do you do with them? How do you prep and cook them? But most importantly, are they tasty?

In this blog or rant..we will walk you through Asian produce one vegetable at a time. We'll show you what to look for and hopefully a recipe or two?

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