Chinese cabbage and bok choy are two exceptionally nutritious and versatile vegetables that are a popular choice when it comes to dishes such as stir fry. But are Chinese cabbage and bok choy similar to each other, or are there differences between these two vegetables that set them apart from one another? Read on to find out!
|Chinese Cabbage||Bok Choy|
|Classification||Brassica rapa||Brassica rapa chinensis|
|Description||Longer than Western cabbages. White stalks with leaves that are a pale green color.||Long and thin. White stalks with dark green leaves that are closely bundled together.|
|Uses||Stir fry, any recipe that calls for cabbage or leafy greens.||Stir fry, any recipe that calls for cabbage or leafy greens.|
|Nutritional Information||Great source of vitamins B9, C, and K.||Great source of vitamins A, C, and K.|
|Other Names||Napa cabbage||Pak choi|
Chinese Cabbage vs. Bok Choy: What is Chinese Cabbage?
Chinese cabbage, best known for the variety napa cabbage, is part of the Brassica family, like the vegetables brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and turnips. In its native China, Chinese cabbage is grown more than any other vegetable. The name napa probably derived from the Japanese word for leafy green, nappa.
Unlike its Western cabbage counterparts which are squat and rounded, Chinese cabbage is longer with a large head. The stalks are white, which has earned it the nickname celery cabbage. The leaves are pale green with thick veins running through them. In addition to these differences, Chinese cabbage also tastes sweeter than other cabbages.
Chinese cabbage has been around for thousands of years, and has been used as both food and medicine. It is a hardy plant and low-maintenance, able to withstand cold weather while growing fast and without much work on the part of the cultivator. You can eat it raw or cooked, and it is often found in different stir fry recipes, though you can use it in just about any dish that calls for cabbage or leafy greens.
Chinese Cabbage vs. Bok Choy: What is Bok Choy?
Bok choy, which can also be called pak choi and pok choi, is also part of the Brassica family. Interestingly enough, it is the second subspecies of Chinese cabbage. The name bok choy is Cantonese for white vegetable. Sometimes, bok choy is harvested when it is still young and sold in stores as baby bok choy.
Bok choy has a distinctive shape and size. Instead of being round, bok choy is long and on the thin side. Its dark green leaves are bundled closely together and sit atop white stalks. Both the leaves and the stems of bok choy are edible. If you plan on cooking them, make sure to add the leaves a little later as they cook more quickly than the stalks!
Like its cousin napa cabbage, bok choy has been around for thousands of years and is used as both food and medicine. It is also a hardy plant that can withstand cold temperatures. Bok choy can be eaten raw or cooked, and it is often found in stir fry recipes, though you can use it in just about any dish that calls for cabbage or leafy greens.
How are Chinese Cabbage and Bok Choy Similar?
Because they are so closely related, there are plenty of similarities between Chinese cabbage and bok choy.
First and foremost, Chinese cabbage and bok choy are from the same plant family. In fact, bok choy is technically a subspecies in the broader Chinese cabbage category.
Bok choy and Chinese cabbage can be prepared in the same ways and are often used in the same dishes, often interchangably. They can both be steamed, sauted, braised, and stir-fried.
Both of these vegetables have been grown and cultivated for thousands of years, and have been used as food and medicine.
Finally, both Chinese cabbage and bok choy have a myriad of health benefits. Both vegetables are packed with nutrients, including the vitamins B, C, and K, as well as the minerals copper and calcium.
How are Chinese Cabbage and Boy Choy Different?
Despite being related, there are a few key differences between Chinese cabbage and bok choy.
Their respective flavors are distinct and unique to each vegetable. Bok choy is known for its earthy, even peppery flavor, while Chinese cabbage is often sweeter and milder.
Chinese cabbage and bok choy look distinctly different. Chinese cabbage is longer than Western cabbage, but it is still rounded and light in color. On the other hand, bok choy is longer, thinner, and its stalks are white with deep green leaves.
What are the Health Benefits of Chinese Cabbage?
Eating Chinese cabbage is associated with many health benefits.
Chinese cabbage is a great source of a myriad of vitamins, including B9, C, and K. B9 is very important in the formation of red blood cells and can aid in helping those cells grow, keeping them healthy and functioning the way they are supposed to. Vitamin C promotes the production of white blood cells as well as iron, and has been proven to boost immunity. Vitamin K helps bones grow strong by providing calcium.
Because it is rich in vitamins like C and K, Chinese cabbage is full of iron and calcium. In addition, Chinese cabbage is rich in copper, which aids brains and nerve health. Eating Chinese cabbage regularly can also promote good digestive health, as it is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.
What are the Health Benefits of Bok Choy?
Just like its cousin Chinese cabbage, bok choy has a number of associated health benefits.
It is a great source of vitamin C and K just like Chinese cabbage, but with bok choy there is also the added benefit of vitamin A which aids in the health of our eyes. Bok choy also has high levels of vitamin E, which aids everything from blood to eyesight to skin.
There are plenty of other nutrients to be found in bok choy, too, including the calcium and copper in Chinese cabbage. Bok choy is also a good source of selenium, zinc, and potassium. Selenium is known for many things, including improving immune function and boosting the health of our hair and nails. Zinc works hard to maintain and help our immune systems, among several other things. Potassium lowers blood pressure as well as the risk of stroke.
So whether you add Chinese cabbage or bok choy to your diet, you’re certain to keep some major health benefits! Bon appetit!
- Bok Choy vs. Baby Bok Choy: Is There a Difference?
- Pak Choi vs. Bok Choy: Is There a Difference?
- Savory Cabbage vs.Green Cabbage: What’s the Difference?
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tippapatt/Shutterstock.com
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