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Jul 16, 2006 06:27 AM

What is your favorite asian produce?

I am going to the farmers market tomorrow and there are lots of Japanese and Chinese produce booths. I just don't know what I should try and don't know what to do with it after I buy it!

Any suggestions are appreciated.

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  1. Pea shoots! If you've never had these, you're in for a treat. I stir-fry mine lightly, add a sprinkle of salt and some toasted sesame oil. They taste like peas, are slightly crunchy.

    U toy or choy sum - known by different names in different dialects. This is used a lot in Chinese cooking, stir-fried and finished with a little oyster sauce. Love these, they taste sweet and a little bitter, very full.

    Gai lan or gai lan cai - also a very popular Chinese veggie. It can be cooked with oyster sauce, or with finely chopped garlic. Taste is similar to choy sum, a little stronger.

    There are fancier ways to cook all these vegetables, but with good fresh greens I like to enjoy the flavor without too much dressing up.

    2 Replies
      1. re: cheryl_h

        Pea shoots sauteed with lots of garlic is as good as food gets.

      2. Melly -- how fun!

        I like all the crunchy Japanese vegetables for a salad. My two favorites are radish sprouts (available in many supermarkets now), and gobo (which needs to be "prepared" before using). I try to buy it already orange and prepared, and then just cut it up for crunch.

        I also love fresh lychees. I believe they are also quite plentiful now, but the season is ending soon.

        The farmer's market sellers are extremely knowledgeable and helpful...ask away!

        Happy shopping, and enjoy!

        2 Replies
        1. re: liu

          is it true that you can leave the skin on the gobo...just wash it?

          1. re: kare_raisu

            Hi, kare_raisu! True! The skin of the burdock (gobo-Japanese) is very flavorful, and if it is thin, it does not have to be peeled. Do scrub it, however, and the peel will turn a rusty color.

            The inside flesh is grayish-white; if you decide to peel it because it is thick, do it immediately before cooking or the gobo will turn brown.

            Either way, fresh burdock does have to be cooked.

        2. I love all Asian mushrooms and greens.
          I also dig gingko nuts (esp. in congee), water chestnuts and burdock root.
          Not a huge fan of bitter melon, though. I'll eat it, but I won't seek it out.

          1. All of it!! :) I especially love...

            * Chinese Broccoli
            * Long Beans
            * Japanese Eggplants
            * Asian Mushrooms :)


            1. I had so much fun today!

              I got Long Beans, Choy Sum, Eggplant, chinese chives (?), bok choy, lemon cukes, basil (75 cents for huge bunches),parsley, shrimp (heads on),mushrooms,walla walla onions (or so they said),tomatoes (a buck a pound), carrots (those little fat sweet ones), and flowers.

              I made basil pesto...yummy. I'll be making stir fry tomorrow. Thanks for such great feedback.

              1 Reply
              1. re: melly

                You lucky girl! I like long beans in a salad. I found a recipe online which is similar to the one I use:
                It might help to get you started. I often toss some cooked eggplant in with it - the spicy dressing goes well with both veggies.

                Chinese chives are also known as garlic chives. They stir-fry well, though they're not often eaten by themselves. They make wonderful chive dumplings with shrimp. Try this link:
                There are versions which are pan-fried as well as steamed. With a dipping sauce of soy, vinegar, sesame oil and chili oil they are wonderful.