Sorting Out the Choys

Most of us are familiar with bok choy, but identifying the various Asian vegetables with choy in their names can be a bit more challenging. Choy is simply the Cantonese word for "vegetable," explains farrago, though vegetables called choys are often leafy greens. Some common types are gai choy (mustard greens), gau choy (Chinese chives), hin choy (amaranth leaves), and ong choy (water spinach). "There are so many variations of bok choy and choy sum it can make your head spin trying to keep them straight," says farrago.

qianning recommends checking out the descriptions at Evergreen Seeds. "They have good name lists (in a bunch of the various language/dialect variants), and pictures for a wide range of Asian veggies," she says.

"I love the water spinach (called hollow heart vegetable in Taiwan)," says tastesgoodwhatisit. "Stir-fry with sliced garlic, and finish with a drizzle of sesame oil and a pinch of salt. The Chinese chives are tasty—thicker and not as strong as Western chives. I like to dice them and sauté with corn and garlic until the corn starts to brown, and then season with cumin and lemon juice."

Discuss: Other "choys" besides bok choy?

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