What Is Suan Cai?-Chinese Pickled Mustard Greens

Suan cai also called suan tsai, is a traditional Chinese pickled vegetable for various cuisines. And, akin to the European Sauerkraut, suan cai is used to make perfect embellishments to meat like chicken and pork and as a topping for noodles, making it delicious and healthier.

What Is Pickled Mustard Greens? (Suan Cai)

chinese suan cai pickled
chinese suan cai pickled

Pickled mustard greens are mustard greens that have been brined in a salt solution for about 14 days to develop a salty-sour flavor.

Pickled Mustard Greens History (Suan Cai History)

Pickled vegetables like suan cai date back as far as 700 B.C. During this time, preserved vegetables were used as a sacrifice in worship. The workers who built the Great Wall of China also survived on rice and cabbages. And to preserve the vegetables in winter, they added rice wine, thus making the food sour.

Today, there are diverse procedures for producing more than 18 types of suan cai, with adding salt to the vegetables being the most common method.

How to Use Pickled Mustard Greens

You can consume pickled mustard greens in two ways. First, as an appetizer, and secondly, you can decide to cook them with meat like beef or pork, or soup or mix the vegetables with cold ingredients to make a variety of appetizers.

How Long Do Pickled Mustard Greens Last

The precise answer to this question is dependent on storage conditions. To increase the shelf life of pickled mustard greens, you should refrigerate them in a plastic bag and freeze them at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. By doing so, the stored vegetables will maintain their quality for up to one year.

Are Pickled Mustard Greens Healthy?

Yes, pickled mustard greens are healthy. They are known to provide probiotics (good bacteria) that aid in promoting digestion as they are usually lacto fermented. However, some people prefer plain mustard greens because they tend to be meatier.

How to Make Suan Cai

Suan cai is a piece of cake to make if you already have salt and water with you. The remaining part is that you must have sour, bitter vegetables- Chinese mustard greens, also called gai choy. Although suan cai is just water, vegetables, and salt, you can decide to add spices like dried chili peppers, sichuan, or peppercorns to change up the flavor.

How to Cook Suan Cai

suan cai huo guo
suan cai huo guo


  1. First, bring 2 cups of water, vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. After 5 minutes, take them off the heat and set them aside.
  2. Wash the Chinese mustard green leaves
  3. Pat the leaves dry using a paper towel.
  4. Rub the leaves with salt and air and dry them in the air for an hour
  5. Pack the greens in a jar and pour in the brine you made in step one.
  6. Keep the jar in a cool, dark location for 14 days
  7. Before eating, drain the greens.

In a nutshell, it is without a doubt that suan cai is among the best Chinese sauerkrauts in the world. You can use suan cai in different Chinese cuisines and serve them with rice, braised meat or fish, noodles, rice congee, or even soup. The sourness and saltiness of suan cai can go a long way in boosting your appetite, leaving you asking for more when combined with the dishes mentioned above


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top