Chinese/ Napa cabbage (Brassica rapa Pekinensis and Chinensis groups)

Napa cabbage (Brassica rapa subsp. pekinensis), also known as celery cabbage, is a type of Chinese cabbage originating near the Beijing region of China, and is widely used in East Asian cuisine. In much of the world, this is the vegetable referred to as “Chinese cabbage”. Napa cabbage is lighter in color than other Chinese cabbages such as bok choy, which is also sometimes called Chinese cabbage. In the United Kingdom, this vegetable is known as “Chinese Leaf”.

The name “napa” comes from colloquial and regional Japanese, where nappa  refers to the leaves of any vegetable, especially when used as food. The Japanese name for this specific variety of cabbage is hakusai , literally “white vegetable”, a cognate of the Chinese name.

 In Korean cuisine, it is the main ingredient of baechu kimchi, the most common type of kimchi, but is also eaten raw as a wrap for pork or oysters, dipped in gochujang. The outer, tougher leaves are used in soups.

 Napa cabbage is widely used in China, Japan, and Korea. Because of immigrants from these nations, it is also readily found in many North American, European and Australian cities.

 The flavor has been described by some as delicate compared to bok choy or cabbage, and it can be used in stir-fry with other ingredients such as tofu, mushroom or zucchini.

 Napa cabbage is used as a sign of prosperity in China, and its image often appears as a symbol in glass and porcelain figures. The famous Jadeite Cabbage sculpture of Taiwan’s National Palace Museum is a carving of a napa cabbage variety.

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