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Jun 7, 2012 06:29 PM

Looking to buy Thai preserved (sweet) turnip...

I am North of Boston, with H-Mart ten minutes away and am in there once a week.

But, I cannot find preserved turnip, sometimes called sweet turnip/radish. I know that H-Mart is Korean and may not carry it either. But, hoping someone out there can point me in the right
direction. Either hidden away in H-Mart, or another grocers shelf.

Thanks hounds.

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  1. Will the Chinese version (甜菜脯, it is variously translated as preserved turnip, preserved radish, the Chinese name translates literally to "sweet vegetable pickle") work for your use? If so, Kam man, Mings and C-Mart all have it for sure, many of the smaller Chinese places probably do to. If you have to have the Thai version, and since you are north of Boston, you might want to try Lanna Asian Grocery on Amherst St in Nashua. The owner is Thai, she's a real go get-ter, and has helped me find lots of difficult to source Thai ingredients. She definitely carries the Thai preserved mustard greens, which I buy there regularly and I think also the Thai preserved radish/turnip, but since I don't use that product I'm not positive.

    I doubt H-Mart would carry this, as it is not a common ingredient in Japanese or Korean food, that said some of the radish/daikon pickles and panchan will be fairly close in texture/flavor if you are willing to use a substitute.

    1 Reply
    1. Does the MB there have the same "expanded" (ie, more than just Taste of Thai) SE Asian section that the Somerville one does? You might want to check there--I think I might have seen it at the Somerville one.

      Is this the stuff that's used in Pad Thai?

      12 Replies
      1. re: emannths

        Yes, I took a Thai cooking class and the instructor used it in her Pad Thai.

        I will try the Somerville MB, it's not too far from me. Thanks emanths.

        1. re: mcel215

          takuan is the japanese version of pickled daikon radish. my favorite is bottled and imported from hawaii, maui i think.the version with chili is best, it is very mild. i have had the kind that is sold whole in a plastic sleeve that is almost a flurescent yellow but that is not that good, it can have almost a chemically taste.

          do you know how the preserved radish compares?

          1. re: divadmas

            No, I don't know how it compares, divadmas.

            I only had the turnip/radish one time at my cooking class and it was used as a condiment sprinkled on Pad Thai. I can get the stuff from Thailand, but the shipping is astronomical. I thought I might be able to get it here in Boston, but don't get to Chinatown at all. I am considering making it without the preserved turnip too. Lots of recipes online don't include it.

            And here is a picture of it from Rasamalasia's site.

            When I took the class,
            I just snapped a picture of the bag and cannot read the company's name.


            1. re: mcel215

              For your use Chinese preserved radish or Chinese Tianjin preserved vegetable (a type of cabbage) will work. Even a small Chinese, and most southeast Asian, grocery will have it.

                1. re: qianning

                  I agree, Tianjin preserved vegetables look just like this. Comes in a ceramic jar that is pictured here: and I've seen it at most Asian markets. I would guess that H-Mart has it too, although I'm not sure.

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    The Tianjin veg will work, but it won't be as sweet as the preserved turnip, either Thai or Chinese.

                2. re: mcel215

                  I have that same bag. Pretty sure I got it at Super 88.

                  While on the subject, anyone know the shelf life of this stuff? It says preserved, so I assume it's good for a long time? I don't make pad thai enough.

                3. re: divadmas

                  They _look_ completely different. Light brown vs yellow. I've only eaten takuan with sushi but texturally I'd say turnip/radish is stringier and drier than takuan. It's usually sold shredded or in small pieces and is sweet. I'm surprised this is not available in Boston as I can get it here in my small Midwest town.

                  1. re: jadec

                    It is available in the Boston area, just not at the Korean H-Mart Grocery store.

                    1. re: qianning

                      Thanks again qianning. I am going to Ming's soon. I called them, but had little luck with the language barrier. I know it's in the refrigerator section. There is a picture on the blog link above, if you could click and check for me. I only saw the bag at my Thai class and everything was on the counter because it was cool enough in the room. I guess I could also call BCAE and ask there. :)


                      1. re: mcel215

                        Looking at the picture you linked to, the Chinese on the packaging (lower left side of the bag) in the picture you reference is 甜菜脯, (pronounced "tian cai pu" in pinyin/Mandarin. see my first post above about this product).

                        It is used in lots of Chinese cooking, but is usually sold whole not chopped. Mind you, I use/buy it in whole form, so it could be that the chopped is available, but I'm not sure 'cause I don't focus on it when I am shopping. It is NOT in the refrigerated section, but rather is a shelf stable product sold in plastic bags and found on the shelves in the Chinese pickles row. (although after I open a package I do store it in the fridge). I have also seen a canned Thai version in the Southeast Asian aisles. Personally I prefer the Chinese version, because the canned types are not as crisp and have a slight tinny taste, also the Thai versions will be sweeter.

                        At Ming's they have several types/brands. The English labeling, if any, will vary from package to package, because it is made from daikon, which has many translations into English, daikon/radish/turnip sometimes those words will appear, and because the literal translation for 甜菜脯, the pickled product you want, is "sweet vegetable preserve" sometimes those words will appear on the package. (kinda like in English "bread & butter pickle" is made from cucumber, but we don't call it cucumber pickle, everyone just knows that "bread & butter pickle" refers to a specific foodstuff )

                        Anyway, If you print off this post and bring the paper with you show anyone at Ming's the Chinese characters and they should be able to point you in the correct direction. Smaller Chinese groceries, there are several around check this board to find one near you, will almost for sure carry this product. So, depending on where you are you might not have to go to Chinatown, although freshness/quality will probably be better if you do.

                        Finally, the Tianjin Preserved Vegetable, which is made from a cabbage, in a pinch would work as a substitute, but I don't recommend it unless you happen to already have it on hand as it will be much saltier and much less sweet than the Pickled radish/daikon/turnip that you want.