Farmer’s market finds in China

Something that has impressed me in every Chinese city I have visited, is the availability of fresh whole foods. The farmer’s market (as we call them back home) are chock full of beautiful fresh meat, seafood (if you are in the south), fruits and vegetables!

This list is just a sampling of the common vegetable greens, roots, beans, & mushrooms – but there are sure to be many not listed here. I mean truly the markets here are overflowing with real, beautiful food to be enjoyed! In this post I highlight some common, yet often puzzling, vegetables that are available in most markets in our cities. I’ve organized these by Leafy Greens, Onion & Garlic Green Toppers, Roots Veg, Beans & Sprouts, Eggplant & Melons & Cucumber, and then Mushrooms.

Now, this will likely leave you with the ‘oh-my-goodness-what-delicious food-do-I-make-now’ dilemma! You can find some great recipes online, or just try substituting this lovely food in your traditional recipes. I made the most delicious mushroom soup with a mixture of the many mushrooms available in the market!

I hope this visually helps you out on your next trip to the market! Bon appetite or as we say here in China, qǐngmànyòng 请慢用 (which literally means “please eat slowly”, but is better translated as “enjoy your meal”)!

Leafy Greens

Bok Choy (bái cài or qīng jiāng cài -青江菜)

Chinese broccoli (jiè lán – 芥兰)

Choy sum (cài xīn – 菜心)

Chinese Water spinach (Kōngxīncài – 空心菜)

Chinese spinach (Xiàncài – 苋菜)

Chinese cabbage (Dà báicài – 大白菜)

Chinese celery (qín cài – 芹菜)

Watercress (xī yáng cài – 西洋菜)

Edible Chrysanthemum (tóng hāo –茼蒿)

Stem lettuce (wō sǔn – 莴笋)

Tops sold separately

Indian Lettuce (yóu mài cài – 油麦菜 )

Onion & Garlic Green Toppers

Spring Onion (cōng – 葱)

Large Green Onion (Dàcōng – 大葱)

Garlic Scapes (suan xin – 蒜芯)

Chinese Garlic Chives (jiǔ cài – 韭菜)

Root Vegetables

Brown Onion (Yángcōng – 洋葱)

Garlic (Dàsuàn – 大蒜)

Ginger (Shēngjiāng – 生姜)

Chinese Radish ( luó bo – 萝卜)

Lotus Root (lián’ǒu – 莲藕)

Water Chestnuts (mǎ tí – 馬蹄)

Bamboo Shoots (竹笋)

Chinese yam (shān yào – 山药)

Eggplant & Melons & Cucumber

Chinese Eggplant (qié zi – 茄子)

Hairy Mellon (guo chi – 国耻)

Bitter Melon ( kǔ guā – 苦瓜)

Chinese Cucumber (Huángguā – 黄瓜)

Winter melon (dōng guā – 冬瓜)

Beans & Sprouts

Chinese long beans (jiāng dòu- 豇豆)

Snow Peas (hé lán dòu – 荷兰豆)

Green Beans (máo dòu – 毛豆)

Mung bean sprouts ( lǜ dòu yá – 绿豆芽)

Kelp seaweed (hǎi dài – 海带)


Chinese black mushroom (dōng gū – 冬菇)

Shiitake mushroom (xiāng gū – 香菇)

Enoki Mushrooms (jīn zhēn gū – 金针菇)

Tea tree mushrooms (chá shù gū – 茶树菇)

King Mushrooms (xìngbàogū – 杏鲍菇)

Are you ready to shop in a Chinese farmer’s market?

Teach, travel, and train with EF English First


Susan is an American woman living a dream — a dream to live and work in community in different countries! Several years in to her journey, she has found her home-away-from-home, while learning more about herself, more about the world, and building bridges through common language as an ESL teacher with EF Kids and Teens in Taizhou, Zheijiang, China. #Livin’aDreamInChina!

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