Top Asian Greens and Vegetables: A Complete Guide

When browsing Asian markets, Asian greens and vegetables look slightly different from North to Southeast Asia.

Still, Asian cuisine you found worldwide, and each product has unique ingredients. They produce cooking oil made for Chinese cooking, which differs from Japanese to Korean cooking.

But while visiting a local Asian market can differ from each other, you can enjoy an incredible culinary experience with Asian greens and vegetables presented at the local Asian supermarket. 😋

So before you head out next time for some Asian leafy greens to buy a healthy vegetable, please browse our list here. It will help you choose the right Asian vegetables to enjoy with your oyster sauce.

List Of Asian Greens and Vegetables

You need not travel far to explore the wonderful world of Asian greens to vegetables and can find out everything you want here.

Chinese Cabbage

napa cabbage for top asian greens and vegetables.

Chinese cabbage goes by the name Napa cabbage or Wombok but is also called the Chinese white cabbage. These Asian greens are high in vitamins B, C, and K. Napa cabbage also has folic acid and antioxidants while low in calories and fiber.

It is a versatile green you can use in stews and stir-fries. Hence, you can cook it a little or a lot or enjoy it raw in a salad. The Napa cabbage has a sweet taste and soaks up any ingredients you prepare it with.

You find Chinese cabbage prepared in different Asian dishes from Chinese to Korean.

An excellent example is a hot pot and kimchi. The best part is you can swap out your regular green cabbage and use the Napa cabbage instead. Add it to soups, make stuffed cabbage rolls, and so much more, as it is delicious.

Chinese Choy Sum

choy sum of top asian greens and vegetables.

For a morning glory leafy green vegetable on the menu, the Choy Sum is a must-have. It also goes by the name. Choy Sum has a distinct look with yellow flowers. On restaurant menus, they refer to it as the morning glory.

Still, the Chinese leafy greens are not commonly used in Chinese food. People describe the taste as sweet yet fresh. So, if you love sweet flavors, swap out your kale and spinach for Yu Choy Sum instead.

You can steam or enjoy it in stir fries with some garlic or swap it out with another leafy green vegetable in the recipe.

Bok Choy

bok choy of top asian greens and vegetables

Another popular variation similar to Chinese cabbage is Pak Choy, Pok Choi, or Bok Choy. The base of the leafy green Bok Choy is often white or has a lighter shade, with the top dark green leaves. Two types are available: baby Bok Choy and Big Bok Choy.

The Shangai Bok Choy you can enjoy eating whole and the regular Bok Choy is mainly used in traditional Cantonese cooking. But you can find the Shanghai bok choy widely available in America. The Asian green is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, while it has folate, calcium, and B6.

You can make the dwarf Bok Choy a side dish steamed with Chinese cuisine. Or you can braise, simmer, or use it in a stir-fry. While you can enjoy this delicious raw veggie, it tastes better when overcooked.

So make some cream Bok Choy to get a healthy fill of a delicious veggie.

Chinese Celery

nan ling celery for top asian greens and vegetables

One thing sets Chinese celery apart from the one you are familiar with. It has thinner yet curved to hollow stems. You can use the hollow stems to leaves for cooking while accustomed to only using the leaves. The Chinese celery, or Nan Ling, is smaller than your Western celery and is filled with vitamins A, C, and K.

Furthermore, Chinese celery is high in folic acid to niacin. Like your regular celery, it is low in calories but is considered a digestion aid in China. Compared to Western celery, it is seldom served raw when looking at Chinese celery.

You find it in stir-fries or used as a herb in stews, braised, or boiled. 🥬 Another interesting thing is that in America, Nan Ling is considered an invasive weed in some regions. So, you may find them growing in the wild.

Chinese Spinach

Asian greens water spinach for top asian greens and vegetables.

Across Asia, most people use this leafy green in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Phillippines, Singapore, and Thailand. You can prepare Chinese spinach differently from using it in a Penang dish made with cuttlefish.

Or you can serve Chinese water spinach raw in a Thai papaya salad.

Alternatively, you can use it in a stir-fry with chiles, garlic, and ginger. In Asia, they use Ong Choy medicinally as well. When visiting Asian markets, you may find that the leafy green has an impressive length.

The whole plant is edible; you can use water spinach in a stir-fry.

Gai Choy Chinese Mustard Greens

gai choi mustard greens for top asian greens and vegetables.

Have you ever eaten raw mustard greens? Then you know what Gai Choy Chinese mustard greens taste like. Still, Chinese mustard greens have a more peppery to spicy taste. Still, it does taste better than the bitter flavor of spinach.

Gai Choy, you can add stir-fries and use them in pickled vegetables to pickled in brine. People use these Asian leafy greens in Chinese medicine for their anti-inflammatory agents. You can use Chinese mustard greens instead of Western mustard greens, beet, or collard greens.

These Chinese vegetables are high in vitamins A, C, and K. Some people also refer to these Asian greens as mustard cabbage.

Chinese Broccoli

chinese broccoli for top asian greens and vegetables.

Gai Lan are Chinese greens that resemble broccolini, and you can use them in their place. Interestingly, broccolini is a cross between the regular broccoli and Gai Lan.

Still, Chinese broccoli tastes bitter and can be reduced by cooking or blanching the veggie. Chinese kale you found in Chinese food, but you can find it in Burmese, Thai, and Vietnamese dishes.

Like most Asian greens, Chinese broccoli tastes divine with garlic and ginger.

Tatsoi 

pak choy for top asian greens and vegetables

These Asian greens have a buttery and smooth leaf texture. Tatsoi also goes by the name Tat Choy closely related to Bok Choy and has a sweet flavor but is milder than the Chinese mustard greens.

The Asian green has a neutral flavor making it versatile for any recipe where you need leafy greens.

You can use it in a salad like romaine lettuce or cook it lightly as a substitute for spinach. The leaves look like huge brussel sprouts, and when choosing the best pick the glossy dark green leaves.

The leaves contain vitamins, calcium, folic acid, and potassium.

Snow Peas

chinese pea pods for top asian greens and vegetables

The following Chinese vegetables you find flooded in the market are snow peas, peat shoots, or Chinese pea pods. You can even find snow pea leaves sold on Asian markets. From the peas to the snow, pea leaves are full of vitamins B and K.

These Chinese vegetables are classified as superfoods as they punch a lot of healthy benefits in one snow pea pod. So, you can substitute sugar snap peas for sprouts and other leafy greens with the snow pea shoots.

So, toss some pea shoots into your salad for a healthy meal.

Bitter Melon

bitter melon for top asian greens and vegetables. 

Okay, is it a gourd or zucchini? The truth is these staple Asian vegetables in India are harvested for edible fruit. The bitter melon might look strange, but it is nutrient-dense, with vitamins A and C to folate. As the name states, it has a bitter taste.

The Asian green used to be used in the medicinal trade for treating diabetes, as a cleansing powder, and to improve the blood. Yet it has a unique flavor to use for bitter foods with other ingredients that are more palatable.

So, why not try it with other Asian greens to see what you can cook up?

Chinese Long Beans

yardlong beans for top asian greens and vegetables

These Chinese greens, known as runner beans, are similar to your green beans, with edible pods for stir-fried food. The only thing that sets this Asian vegetable apart is the length, but they are full of vitamins and magnesium

Kabocha Pumpkin

Kabocha squash for top asian greens and vegetables

The Japanese pumpkin is similar to our traditional pumpkin and butternut. Only the outer appearance is different as you find them in orange or green. The inside flesh is orange and on the sweet side. Still, it is starchy and not as creamy, with sweeter notes like sweet potato.

Another notable thing is that the skin is edible and used with tempura or deep-fried in Japanese cuisine. In Korea, they eat it as porridge; in Thailand, you get it for dessert. The squash is versatile to put in soups or blend into a roasted cut.

Daikon Radish

daikon radish for top asian greens and vegetables

Another vegetable found on Asian markets that is a winter root with a mild radish taste is the Daikon radish. You do not get that strong taste, but a milder flavor and the veggie has a more extended appearance. When browsing a store, the size might impress you as it looks like a white carrot.

You find the radish mostly in Korean cuisine as a traditional ingredient. You can enjoy it cooked or raw, and it has a crunchy texture to use as a garnish or dipped into guacamole or hummus. You can add to it soup or salads filled with vitamin C.

Shiitake Mushrooms

shiitake mushrooms for top asian greens and vegetables

These mushrooms are common Asian vegetables found in big box stores and add flavor to any meal 😋. The mushroom has a savory taste and is a great source of copper, riboflavin, and vitamin B complex. You can enjoy them, dried or fresh.

The mushroom is used in traditional medicine, but you can make a mean caramelized shitake mushroom risotto with it.

Oyster Mushrooms

oyster mushroom for top asian greens and vegetables.

A delicious veggie or fungi found in oyster mushrooms. The caps look like oysters fanning out. Still, please do not get confused with oyster sauce, as they use oysters. You can also use it as a meat🥩 substitute, as it has tender flesh with a meaty flavor.

These mushrooms soak up sauces well, and you find them sold fresh or dried. The best part is you need not rehydrate them before adding them to a dish. You can braise them or add them to soup or a stir-fry.

Thai Eggplant 

thai eggplant for top asian greens and vegetables

We all know the eggplant 🍆 we are accustomed to, but this one is small and has a round-sized golf ball. They are mostly available in green, but other varieties are also available in purple, white, and yellow.

The Tahi eggplant is often eaten raw in salads but tastes bitter and is best served in curries.

Lotus Root

lutos root of top asian greens and vegetables. 

The Asian vegetables have a starchy to mild flavor with a taro beet-like flavor when you cook them. You cannot eat them raw. As Chinese vegetables, people call it a cooling food to help restore balance in your body. They add it to a stir-fry or in soups and are found in desserts.  

Bean Sprouts

bean sprouts of top asian greens and vegetables

The bean sprouts you find are cultivated from the mung bean, and you can easily grow them at home. You can add them to a stir-fry or in soups to spring rolls. Bean sprouts are rich in antioxidants but need a moist environment to grow.

Bean sprouts and microgreens are both forms of edible baby plants, but microgreens represent the seedling stage of vegetables and herbs, while bean sprouts come specifically from germinated beans and seeds.

Taro

Taro root of top asian greens and vegetables.

These Asian vegetables have a starchy texture with dark brown skin and with white interior. It tastes similar to a sweet potato but has nutty notes. Still, the taro root takes up a lot of flavor when cooked. It is high in vitamin C with fiber.

People eat taro as a veggie chip or use it in bubble tea. You can mash the veg or make fries with it.

Ginger

ginger of top asian greens and vegetables.

Ginger, is used in most food worldwide and Asian food. The aromatic flavor you can use is fresh or ground. Not only does it have medicinal use, but it is also a superfood with gingerol content and anti-inflammatory to antioxidant compounds.

It has a spicy flavor that pairs well with warm spices and sweetness. You can drink it in tea or ale and use it in savory dishes.

Taiwanese Cabbage

The cabbage differs from the Napa cabbage and is loose-leafed with a sweet yet tender taste. It has a mild veggie flavor with sweetness to bitterness. The Taiwanese cabbage is mostly used in stir-fries and pairs well with pork.

Why Try More Asian Veggies and Greens

chinese food of top asian greens and vegetables

So, why would you branch out to enjoy more Asian cuisine to eat various foods? The first important thing is that eating from garlic chives, broccoli rabe, choy sum yu to water spinach and other greens is healthy.

Furthermore, it allows you to try other exciting flavors to textures, and you can add some new recipes to inspire you and the family. So, if you enjoy a lot of Asian takeaways, then add some Asian greens to your budget instead of buying them.

Expanding your diet helps increase your nutrient intake as you can cycle greens to cover all the bases to get in your vitamins, micronutrients, and minerals. The best part about Asian greens is that they are full of vitamins, folic acid, and calcium.

This makes Chinese broccoli or Chinese leaf mustard great treats packed with nutrition.

Where Can You Get Asian Greens and Vegetables?

When looking for Asian greens and vegetables, you can find them in a couple of places.

  • First, check your typical shops, like the local co-op or big greengrocer. You may find huge varieties available.

  • Other places to look for yu choy, an oil vegetable to pea shoots, are health food stores, but they will most likely change the selection as per the season.

  • Your best option is to visit an Asian grocer in your local Chinatown that has several markets for you to choose from.

  • Another option is a specialty market selling dwarf bok choy green cabbage and snow pea shoots.

  • An alternative is to grow Chinese vegetables in your garden if you have the space.

How to Prepare Your Asian Greens

If you want to enjoy Asian food using Chinese broccoli to leafy greens, there are some rules to follow:

The critical thing to remember is that leafy green vegetables are primarily grown in sand, and you will need to wash them well and use a stainless steel bowl.

  1. Choose your fresh Chinese spinach or other vegetables, and be picky about it. Choose young and tender vibrant green colors and not wilted ones.

  2. Wash and rinse them before cutting them and cut them into bite sizes or you can leave them whole depending on if you want to make a balanced veggie dish or stir-fried.

  3. Then wash again to remove the dirt 💩 as you do not want to end up with crunchy bits.

  4. After the final wash, leave your vegetables to drain and use your veggies within an hour or two.

Now work your magic with a hot pot or stir-fried.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to Asian greens and vegetables, you can find them eating similar veggies as we do, but each has a different look to taste. So they eat cabbage, which is called Napa cabbage, with a different texture and taste.

Chinese food includes Napa cabbage, mustard greens, bok choy, snow pea shoots, winter radish, and yard-long beans.

Japanese vegetables include:

  • Japanese green pepper

  • Japanese parsley

  • Giant white radish

  • Hakusai or Napa cabbage

  • Japanese spinach

Daikon radish is the main vegetable eaten in Japan.

The Japanese staple dish is Sushi compared to China, which enjoys Peking Roasted Duck.

The number one Asian green bock choy with its sweet flavor and crisp texture. Bok choy is a type of cabbage used stir-fried and in other foods.

Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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