People Messhall Pickled Cabbage

i-f7703764b9696bb8fa4a13f83b86ffe1-P1030010.JPG

My wife’s from Zhejiang province, and so is this can of pickled cabbage that she bought yesterday. I like the label a lot. It’s not quite Engrish: of course, we would say “people’s mess hall”, but the Chinese characters actually denote an extremely basic canteen-like eatery. A mess hall, a canteen, maybe a refectory; very latter-day Maoist. It’s a correct translation.

I endorse the pickled cabbage of the Chun’an Qiandaohu Nongxing Food Co., Ltd.. It is by far good enough to be served not only in mess halls.

Comments

  1. #1 Roy
    July 9, 2011

    Is this suan cai?

  2. #2 Martin R
    July 9, 2011

    This type of suan cai (sour cabbage) is made from a plant called xue cai (snow cabbage) or xue li hong (snow in red).

  3. #3 Bob Carlson
    July 9, 2011

    Could this be considered a congener of Korean kimchi? The photo of a suan cai soup on the suan chi Wikipedia page seems a tad reminiscent of what is called kimchi jjigae, although I presume the jjigae to be quite a bit more spicy.

  4. #4 Birger Johansson
    July 9, 2011

    Itt reminds me that in northern Iran they have pickled garlic, a rather acquired taste.

  5. #5 Birger Johansson
    July 9, 2011

    Very old joke from “Wizard of Id”

    Sir Rodney: “People are calling my soldiers “pigs”! What are you going to do about it?”

    King: “Close the doors to the messhall when the troops are eating.”

  6. #6 Martin R
    July 10, 2011

    Bob, this stuff is like kimchi only you use a plant with a mild mustardy taste and omit both chili and garlic.

  7. #7 Bob Carlson
    July 11, 2011

    Of course, Koreans have been putting chili in their kimchi only since chilis were brought to the Old World from the Americas. When I mentioned this to one brother-in-law, he became irate and insisted that Koreans have always had red pepper in their kimchi. According to what I read in a work titled Asia in the Making of Europe, following their discovery by Columbus, capsicums spread like wildfire through the Old World. Therefore, I suppose it is possible that they had reached Korea by 1500.

  8. #8 Martin R
    July 11, 2011

    Imagine back when the Chinese ate mainly millet and the Italians hadn’t even heard of a tomato…

  9. #9 Bob Carlson
    July 12, 2011

    Indeed, no tomato sauce in Italy seems just as hard to imagine as no red pepper in Korea or Thailand. Does no potatoes in Ireland or Sweden come anywhere close?

  10. #10 Martin R
    July 13, 2011

    Yes, what currently goes for traditional Swedish cuisine is heavily potato-based. Midsummer’s Eve: salted herring, boiled potatoes with dill, and potato-based schnapps. Then drunken fornication with your sister-in-law behind a bush.

  11. #11 Wife
    July 13, 2011

    This type of suan cai (sour cabbage) is called xue cai (snow cabbage) or xue li hong (snow in red).

  12. #12 Martin R
    July 13, 2011

    Yes, I should have attributed that info to my excellent source. (-;

  13. #13 Bill Poser
    July 26, 2011

    Iranian pickled garlic is delicious. I ate some earlier today.

    Although chili peppers come from the Americas, we should not forget that various other kinds of “pepper” are native to the Old World, so while chilis certainly changed the culinary picture, its not as if all food prior to contact with the Americas was bland. An example is “Szechuan pepper” (花椒 – hua jiao) which isn’t as piquant as chili pepper but has a fascinating numbing quality.

  14. #14 Martin R
    July 26, 2011

    I had Junior’s left-over salad at a Mexican place the other day and there was more black pepper than oil in the dressing. Not bland, but not good either unfortunately.