- Gordon Dumoulin
Winter stocking time | Chinese cabbages and onions
Especially in the north of China, it is time for stocking up on Chinese cabbages and large green onions for upcoming winter. The markets and street vendors are selling cabbages and onions these days to store in dry, airy places for preservation during winter. In urban areas you might see cabbages and onions in residence building hallways or outside balconies while in rural areas, people often pile up cabbages under blankets in courtyards.
白菜 (báicài, commonly known as Chinese cabbage, or sometimes Nappa cabbage) is a humble, basic but highly treasured staple in China during harsh winters. Chinese cabbage is popular for its versatility to cook in many ways; from stir-fried to dumpling filling, pickled or as a hotpot vegetable. And the large cabbage is usually much cheaper in comparison with other veggies, therefore people sometimes refer to a great discount as a ‘bai cai‘ price or deal :-)
The large cabbage is also modest about its exceptional nutrition values. Although unknown to many, this superveggie beats kale, spinach and many other trendy greens or roots with regard to the abundance of minerals and vitamins. An excellent healthy stronghold for wintertime with rich sources of calcium, iron and strong anti-inflammatory substances to keep healthy.
The large green onions or leek, regularly called 大葱, dà cōng or “big onion” are a staple veggie as well, used for flavour in various dishes but also eaten raw, dipped in black bean sauce with fresh-baked hot bread. With a flavour like its small relative the spring onion but usually much more intense, your winter nose will open up eating the “big onion” 😊
A market vendor selling barbecue fried bacon-wrapped big onions on a street market in North-East China :
barbecue fried bacon-wrapped big onions on a street market (source douyin)