As the biggest holiday of the year in Chinese culture, Chinese New Year is commemorated around the world. This period of time marks the start of the new Lunar calendar and friends and family gather to honor traditions, ensure luck and of course, celebrate with food. Food plays a very central role in Chinese New Year traditions, as different foods have come to symbolize different things such as wealth, prosperity and fortune. A wide variety of dishes are often present during Chinese New Year feasts including whole fish, chicken, dumplings and plenty of vegetables.
Vegetables are not only fundamental to Chinese New Year but also to Chinese cuisine as a whole. People love to eat green, leafy vegetables at each meal because they’re not only incredibly healthy but also versatile in a vast number of recipes. When it comes to popular green Asian vegetables, we at Melissa’s have the best of the best from top quality growers. Let’s take a look at some of the Asian vegetables we’re offering that would be perfect for Chinese New Year and other Chinese-inspired dishes. We also have a wide variety of essentials for Chinese New Year including vegetables, tropical fruits, noodles and other great items to make tasty dishes for the holiday.
Gai lan, also known as Chinese Broccoli, is a favorite in Chinese cuisine. Gai lan has a similar flavor to regular broccoli, only slightly more bitter. It pairs wonderfully with oyster sauce and garlic because the flavors complement and offset the bitterness. For an easy yet flavorful side dish, check out our Gai Lan and Long Bean Stir Fry with Enoki Mushrooms.
One of the most famous vegetables found in Asian cuisine, bok choy is used extensively in a number of recipes. With a flavor similar to Swiss Chard or spinach, it’s no wonder this delightful vegetable is so beloved. Though the leaves are a bit spicy raw, once cooked, they release a mild sweetness. Try it with our Bok Choy and Shiitake Stir-fry Yakisoba.
Tender and leafy, baby bok choy is an incredibly versatile vegetable. Whether stir-fried, braised, sautéed or steamed, this vegetable becomes more mild to reveal a just hint of sweetness. We love baby bok choy in a number of recipes but we like it simple the best. Sautéed with garlic, soy sauce and lemon juice, our Quick Lemony Baby Bok Choy Sauté is the perfect Chinese New Year’s side dish.
A timeless Asian vegetable, Yu Choy Sum has been used in Asian cuisine since ancient times. Also slightly but pleasantly bitter, Yu Choy Sum have thick, green stalks, long, tender leaves and small edible yellow flowers. The stalks and tips are especially delicious and are a favorite in Cantonese cooking.
Originating from Beijing, China, Napa cabbage is commonly used in Asian cuisine. As a symbol of prosperity in China, what’s not to love about this exquisite vegetable during Chinese New Year? Napa cabbage is used extensively in stir-fry and hot pot and becomes wonderfully tender once cooked. And don’t forget about kimchi! Napa cabbage is the star of the show in the most popular kimchi, baechu kimchi.
How adorable does Petite Baby Choy Sum look? With a distinctly sweet but delicate mustard flavor, petite baby choy sum is popularly used in stir-fries and can withstand bold flavors such as chiles, garlic, spices and even citrus. And because they’re so small, they can be eaten whole. A great recipe for getting started with this awesome vegetable is our Petite Choy Sum Stir-Fry.
Don’t be confused by how similar Petite Shanghai looks as baby bok choy. Petite Shanghai is part of the bok choy family but are actually smaller than baby bok choy. However, what they do have in common is their delicious hint of sweetness once cooked. Their delicateness allows for them to blanch beautifully in soups and make a nice crunchy addition to stir-fry.
What are your favorite Asian vegetables? Which one of these Asian vegetables have you tried before? And which vegetable dishes do you like to enjoy during Chinese New Year’s?