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Preserved Tianjin Vegetables / Salted Radish –
Tang Chai / Hua Chai Bpoh

by Kasma Loha-unchit

See Also: Pad Thai (Thai-Style Stir-fried) and Stuffed Squid Soup with Napa Cabbage or Squash (Gkaeng Cheud Bplah Meuk Yad Sa), which use Tianjin Vegetables.

Tianjin Vegetables from ChinaNotable among salted preserved vegetables used in Thai cooking are tang chai (preserved Tianjin vegetables) and hua chai bpoh (salted radish). Both are adapted from Chinese cooking but have become important ingredients in many distinctly Thai dishes; the latter is used in pad thai noodles.

Preserved Cabbage, a Thai brandTang chai is shredded cabbage preserved with salt and garlic. It originated from a district in China known as Tianjin, which still makes the best-tasting brand. The preserved cabbage is stuffed in squat, round clay crocks and identified as "Tianjin preserved vegetables." A Thai brand comes in a similar jar made of clear plastic. Tang chai is used in a wide range of soups and noodle dishes of Chinese origin. It keeps indefinitely, without refrigeration, as long as it is kept dry in an airtight jar. Because it is very salty and used sparingly, a crock will last you a very long time.

Tianjin Vegetables from ChinaHua chai bpoh is a salted and preserved daikon-type turnip or radish and may be whole (flattened, elongated pieces about four to five inches long and one and a half inches wide) or shredded in fine strips. There are two varieties; one is highly salty, the other less salty and slightly sweetened. and used in many Thai dishes. Look for the words "sweet" or "sweetened" somewhere on the package to make sure you are getting the right one. Hua chai bpoh keeps well without refrigeration.

Our Ingredients Index contains links to many more Thai ingredients.

Copyright © 1995 Kasma Loha-unchit in It Rains Fishes. All rights reserved.

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