Table of content A-Z


chinese cabbage


Botanical name: Brassica rapa var. pekinensis



Chinese cabbage has been known and cultivated in the Asian regions since the 5th century a.d. It originated in northern China. Even today, it is the most important vegetable there next to the radish. China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan are the chief producers in Asia.

It wasn't until the 20th century that the Chinese cabbage reached Europe and the USA. For several decades now it has been sold here and it has become very popular.

The largest producers in Europe are the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany. Its cultivation in Germany is steadily increasing.


Chinese cabbage is sold the year round. German produce grown outdoors is available from September to December. Outside of this time period, the cabbage either comes from greenhouses or is imported from other countries.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

In China, two different types of Chinese cabbage are known: bok choi and lung nga pak. The latter resembles celery, and it is from this one that the Chinese cabbage cultivated here stems. It probably goes back to a cross-breeding between the turnip (Brassica rapa var. rapa) and bok choi (Brassica rapa var. chinensis).

The leaves of the Chinese cabbage are egg-shaped and broad. They are slightly undulated and can be yellow to dark green. In Germany light-green Chinese cabbage is prevalent. The lower part of the leaf is white, fleshy and thick; toward the top it becomes more tender and takes on its typical color.

In contrast to other varieties of cabbage, Chinese cabbage does not have a stalk; the leaves close by themselves to form an oval head that can be up to 60 cm long.

The taste is slightly cabbage-like but, compared with other types of cabbage, less obtrusive, with a mild aroma. Its easy digestibility makes Chinese cabbage a suitable food for persons who otherwise suffer from a sensitivity to cabbage.


The mustard oils contained in Chinese cabbage give it its flavor. A high concentration of folic acid makes it particularly valuable. Glucosinolates and carotenoids are important secondary plant substances that are found in Chinese cabbage. 100 g contain:

Chinese cabbage, fresh
Energie (kcal)
Wasser (g)
Eiweiß (g)
Fett (g)
< 1
Kohlenhydrate (g)
Ballaststoffe (g)
β-Carotin (μg)
Vitamin C (mg)
Folsäure (μg)
Kalium (mg)
Calcium (mg)
Magnesium (mg)
Phosphor (mg)
Eisen (mg)
Mangan (mg)

Harmful substances

Chinese cabbage is one of the vegetables with a medium nitrate content.

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

The following criteria should be followed in purchasing Chinese cabbage: The head should be closed, and it should look fresh and healthy. Wilted leaf tips and blackness where it has been cut indicate that it has been stored too long or that it was not harvested correctly. In places where it is slightly damaged or bruised it quickly begins to spoil.

The cabbage keeps well for a week in the refrigerator. The fresher it is when eaten, however, the crispier, tastier and healthier it is.

Presumed effect on health

The secondary plant substances that it contains have an anticarcinogenic effect. In addition, carotenioids have been proven to have an influence in reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Chinese cabbage is a very versatile vegetable. It can be eaten raw and cooked and tastes as good prepared spicy as it does prepared sweet. Prior to preparation, the outermost leaves should be removed, the bottom end cut off, and the cabbage washed. According to how it is to be prepared, one cuts it into fine strips or uses the leaves whole. In any case, there is very little waste.

Raw Chinese cabbage can be made as a salad with ingredients such as apples, oranges, mandarin oranges, kiwis and peaches, or with carrots, cucumbers, sweet corn, sweet peppers, tomatoes and eggs.

Cooked, it is prepared like green cabbage or savoy cabbage and is suitable for making stuffed cabbage leaves. A Chinese cabbage lasagne can also be tasty. Cut in strips, it is an ingredient for wok vegetables. Briefly fried or braised, it remains crispy and can be flavored with soy sauce and Asian seasonings.

Leftover cabbage can be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, or it can be blanched and frozen.

Seasoning tip

Parsley and chervil are good to enhance the flavor. Chilli, curry, turmeric, ginger, soy sauce and sake go with Asian dishes.





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