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Mar 26, 2009 07:56 AM

Peninsula source for Chinese celery?

I enjoy this vegetable in restaurant dishes so I have bought it at the new 99 Ranch Market in Mountain View and prepared it at home.

I find the vegetable needs to be prepped with a lot of attention to "bad spots" and many stalks are just too tired to be appealing.

Can you suggest other stores? Do any farmers' markets have this vegetable? Do you have any tips for selecting from a display?

My skills will hopefully improve, and I would like to cook up high quality Chinese celery. Thanks.

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  1. The Chinese vegetable selection and quality (depending on the day of the week), although further away south, at Marina Foods supermarket in Cupertino, is a lot better than most 99 Ranch markets.

    You may also want to try checking out your local farmer's market. I haven't been to the big downtown Mountain View weekend farmers market, but I would think there would be at least one or two vendors there (or famers) that grow and specialize in locally grown Chinese greens. Cannot confirm if they will have Chinese celery, but sure wouldn't hurt to drop by and/or ask.

    I've never picked them from a pile, but I do know that there's an aweful lot of dirt and soil trapped inside these guys that would require a lot of repeated rinsing and cleaning. May help to soak them in water with a little salt to treat. You definitely want to chop off the ends of the stalk (by the root) at least half to an inch away from the tip. I don't think there's an exact science to picking, just make sure the color looks right, stalks don't look aged, dry, tired (as you say). Sometimes, luck of the draw even if you nail down the visuals (much like picking supermarket Chinese veg, sometimes one cannot tell if the batch was grown in rather dry environments, leaving the plant water deprived and dry and bitter as a result).

    Please report back if you find it at your local farmers market (e.g. downtown Mountain View).

    2 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Marina Foods has a store in San Mateo as well, off the Hillsdale exit.

      Good idea to check out the Mountain View farmers market. I don't recall Chinese celery specifically, but when I visited in November, there were several Asian vegetable stands. If nothing else, anyhow might find some other interesting greens to play with.

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        For what it is worth Marina Cupertino is bigger than the San Mateo location.

    2. Thank you for your suggestions and encouragement. I will go to the MV farmers' market this Sunday and report. I normally exploit the market in stone fruit season. I have grown veggies for my table for years.

      I have become addicted to the Chinese celery and dry tofu combination. I brought a large dish to work, with apologies for being leftovers, and my co-workers were delighted. I guess it was "high praise" that one woman told me I should cook for her mother. In Taipei. ;-)

      2 Replies
      1. re: anyhow

        MVFM, 3/29/09 -- No Chinese celery available. One stand told me to check back in 2-3 weeks because they've planted and the celery has only broken the surface of the soil. Very exciting to talk with the growers. More news soon.

        1. re: anyhow

          That is very cool. We'll stay tuned for your crop report!

      2. New Wing Yuen Market in Sunnyvale next door to The Hong Kong Saigon Seafood Harbor Restaurant by Lakehaven Drive and Lawrence Expressway has Chinese celery. Though a smaller market, the Chinese produce there is generally superior to that at Ranch 99, Marina, or Lion supermarkets. The produce man there takes great care in doing an excellent job.

        1 Reply
        1. re: CYL

          Thanks for your suggestion. I will look there first.