please help identify chinese seed names

sillyrib(z5 IL)June 24, 2004

I recently went to chinatown here in Chicago and asked where I might find some chinese vegetable seeds. I was directed to a small shop where the gentleman had some seeds in plain small envelopes behind the counter. Unfortunately they were all written in Chinese! Although the man was very helpful, he could neither speak english very well or write in english, so I asked him to pronounce the names while I wrote them down. I asked him to give me whatever he had. I had no idea there would be so many different types. I have searched around and identifie some of the names but and what type of plant they are but I was hoping that the people here could either direct me or help identify the vegies.

the list

Red Han Choi

Fu Gua

jit qua- small watermelon

bao sam chai

chen con chai- similiar to bok choi?

yao ma

tung san choi- mustard green?

chen que- eggplant

cheng dao-long green bean

don qua

san choi

gai lan- chinese broccoli

green han choi

gai choi- chinese mustard green

yau choi- chinese broccoli

chung ho

bo choi- cabbage

choi fa

pau gua

choi go

dai choi

I know this is a long list but any help with either the correct name or type of vegie would be great. Also, what might be the taste and typical preparation. Please direct me to site if this info already exists. Thanks!

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From the descriptions, it looks like the gentleman spoke Cantonese. I can identify the names of a number of these in Cantonese (I've probably eaten almost every one of them), but I don't know the English equivalents, unfortunately.

In general, "choi" or "choy" indicates that it is a leafy vegetable of some sort. "Gua" inidicates that it is a melon. "dou" indicates that it is a bean. The term "choy sum" is sometimes used in to indicate any number small, leafy vegetable similar to baby bok choy.

In standard Chinese mainland mandarin, "choy" would be spelled "cai", but "gua" and "dou" would stay the same, if memory serves me correctly. All bets are off for Taiwanese spellings, but they are rather rare.

Based on your phonetic spellings, here are my guesses with the percentage of certainty:

Fu Gua: bitter melon (100%)
gai choi: Chinese mustard green (100%)
gai lan: Chinese broccoli/Chinese kale (100%)
cheng dou: long bean of some type, possibly yard long bean (100%)
choi go: possibly "gow choy" or Chinese Leek (50%)
don gua: possibly "dong gua" or Chinese winter melon (75%)
pau gua: possible calabash or bottle gourd (60%)
yau choi: possibly green choy sum (50%)
san choi: possibly Malabar spinach or Ceylon spinach (60%)
dai choi: possibly Napa Valley Cabbage. The name sounds like it means "big vegetable" (25%).

What you may wish to do is to get the gentleman to write down the names of the plants and go to your nearest Chinese market and look for the matches. Otherwise, just plant the seeds in the ground and see what comes up!

Here is a link that might be useful: Asian vegetable names

    Bookmark   June 25, 2004 at 1:54PM
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The red hon choi is the edible red chrysanthemum and the jit gua is the smaller oval shaped winter melon.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2004 at 12:56PM
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bobolink(z6 MA)

A few of the names sound like Toisanese to me, a dialect of Cantonese. With my mother's help on the phone, here is what I can come up with:

Red Han Choi - red edible amaranth
green han choi - green edible amaranth
Fu Gua - bitter melon
jit qua - hairy gourd
bao sam chai - small white cabbage
dai choi - large white cabbage or large bok choi
chen con chai - ShangHai bok choi (green petiole bok choi)
yao ma - ?
tung san choi - water spinach
chen que - long eggplant
cheng dao - long green bean, yardlong bean
don qua - wintermelon
san choi - lettuce ?
gai lan- chinese broccoli
gai choi- chinese mustard green
yau choi- literally "oil veggie" - green & leafy, popular in restaurants serve by itself with oyster sauce
chung ho - ?
bo choi - spinach
choi fa - califlower
pau gua - ?
choi go - kolrahbi

Most of these vegetables can be used in stirfry or soup.
Hope some body will share their favorite recipes because I am growing some of these and will be trying different recipes myself.
Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 2:35PM
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AliKuro(10 southern CA)

could "chung ho" be "Tong Ho" and "yao choi" be
"Yu Choy?" How about "bao sum chai" as heading mustard or big heading gaichoy? "bo choi" spinach?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2004 at 5:42PM
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pau gua = Lagenaria siceraria (Molina)
ENGLISH : Snake gourd. (long club type with curled body)

Can you take pictures of the characters? Maybe borrow a digital camera or purchase a cheap one at Wal-Mart?

Then you can either post the pictures or send them to me and have them identified correctly.



    Bookmark   July 1, 2004 at 12:50PM
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Did you find any more info out?

    Bookmark   July 7, 2005 at 3:54PM
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