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Mar 21, 2012 02:29 PM

Help identifying Asian green?

I picked up a package of this at my local Asian market because it looked interesting, yet it had no label of what KIND of herb or green it actually was (save a generic "Vietnamese herb" label). Anyone here able to help me out? Just trying to figure out what it is and if it's best as a garnish, in salads, stiry-fries, etc.

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  1. Hmmm... I was going to say sweet potato leaf (番薯葉),

    but apparently they may not be... as you said it is Vietnamese herb.

    1. Hard to say... it looks like Malabar spinach, but the stems seem to long.
      Are the leaves fragrant or do they have any particular flavor?

      1 Reply
      1. re: chow_fun

        I think it's fish mint, as suggested below. That fits the appearance as well as the slightly "funky" taste when I crushed and tasted a leaf. I'll be trying it this weekend and am curious that I read I can try to get some root growth off of cuttings...I'm working on a really varied herb garden for this spring so this might fit in beautifully...

      2. I think it's vap ca, aka fish mint.

        1 Reply
        1. re: pantruque

          Oh, I think you're right! I checked some photos and that does seem to match - also the somewhat "pungent" taste/aroma when I crinkled a leaf and tasted it. Sounds like I could definitely use it in some grilling dishes I have in mind.


        2. It looks like La Lot leaves (a kind of the betel leaf) that is used for Bo La Lot (grilled beef rolls).

          1. Looks like sorrel to me. Kitazawa seeds lists it under "Vietnames herbs" (even though it's not native to Vietnam) and says it's also known as rau chua (sour herb) or rau thom (fresh herb) . But I would not describe the taste as funky. Sour is more like it, so if what you have tastes fishy rather than tart, I guess it's fish mint.