Choi Identification: Local Pole Beans (家鄉心豆仔)

IMG_0180One of the best things about shopping in Chinatown during the summertime is the variety of fresh, local, and affordable produce available for purchase, – you’d be surprised by what you can find! This week, we were excited to find freshly picked, homegrown pole beans at Carley Quality Meats, sourced from hua folks aka “” (pronounced as waa jan in Cantonese and huá rén in Mandarin) who were growing from their very own backyard here in Vancouver. Turns out, Carley Quality Meats has been selling home grown produce for quite some time. For example, they sourced fresh choi grown by one of their employee’s sister last year. Now that’s an example of a local economy!

As one of the employees explained, homegrown pole beans aka “豆仔” (pronounced as gaa hoeng sum dau zai in Cantonese and jiā xiāng xīn dòu zǎi in Mandarin) is quite popular amongst the local shoppers. Long, crisp and fresh, it’s easy to see why this veg is a crowd favourite. It even brought back childhood memories for Angela, our summer staff, of the (aka beans) that her mom used to grow in their backyard.

How to select and prepare

IMG_0171When selecting your veg, look for firm, bright green 豆 with a smooth exterior. When fresh, it should look well hydrated. To prepare your 豆, remove the tips from both ends and break into smaller pieces (a good size reference is the length of your palm). An easy (and fun!) way to prepare the 豆 is by snapping it with your hands; the beans make such a satisfying sound when you do so. Don’t believe us? Hear for yourself:

Cook the 豆 according to your personal preference; crisp, tender, or anything in between! A simple, yet classic way to enjoy these beans is by stir-frying it with garlic and oyster sauce. With that being said, they also hold up well when blanched, pickled or roasted.

Excited to try these homegrown goodies? Come on down to Chinatown, as they may go quickly! To learn more about other local choi in Chinatown, click here.