Photo: grape Japan

How to turn Napa cabbage into an easy dish with just one ingredient

By grape Japan

Napa cabbage, (know in Japan as 白菜 hakusai, also known outside of Asia as Chinese cabbage, Chinese leaf in the UK and wombok in Australia), is mostly a winter vegetable in Japan, although it can be found in many supermarkets in Europe or North America all year long.

Although it's used in various Asian cuisines to make everything from pickles, soups, and hot pots, one pet peeve people often have with this type of cabbage is that it's easy to end up with unused cabbage when you buy them because of their large size.

Whether you're a regular consumer of this plentiful cabbage or you've seen them in your supermarket but never had a reason to buy one before, we'd like to introduce a simple and delicious recipe that will give you a great reason to gobble up that Napa like there's no tomorrow.

This cooking lifehack comes courtesy of 全農広報部, the PR department of Zen-Noh, Japan's National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations, on their Twitter account.


First, you should cut the Napa cabbage into quarters. In Japanese supermarkets, you can find halves and sometimes quarters already pre-packaged. Once you have a quartered cabbage, you can put away your kitchen knife because you won't be needing it anymore.

Heating the cabbage as is in the frying pan apparently brings out the sweetness to its fullest.

As you can see in the pictures above, they propose inserting bacon slices in between the leaves.

Once you've done preparing the cabbage, fry on medium heat for about five minutes on each of the three sides (the two cross-sections and the outside).

The bacon is surely a perfect match for the hot, crispy texture of the cooked Napa cabbage.

If you don't want to use meat bacon, you can try it with vegan bacon brushed with olive oil, or you can try an alternative recipe without bacon which turns this into a salad. Just fry it as is, let it cool, cut into chunks, then pour dressing on top.

This way of cooking Napa cabbage seems to have been a hit online, eliciting comments such as:

"This has to be delicious! I'd love to try it. Bacon would add a nice aroma and flavor."

"This, with some sprinkled cheese on top... Oh yeah!"

"It just happens that I have some leftover Napa cabbage in my fridge right now and I didn't know what to do with it. I'm sure I'll have no problem now. Thanks for the tip!"

"Napa cabbage and pork is a classic combination but I can see how bacon would bring out even more flavor!"

Read more stories from grape Japan.

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-- We tried the gourmet egg sandwiches famous in Japanese showbiz as backstage snacks

-- Japanese supermarket lets customers slap on their own discount stickers in generous meat sale system

© grape Japan

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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If you don't want to use meat bacon, you can try it with vegan bacon...

Yeah, great, where can I buy vegan bacon in Japan?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It's hard to find, but it's possible to get it.

For example, here:

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Bacon makes everything better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bacon makes everything better.

Except heart disease.

I love the saltiness of bacon. But I cut it out a few years back, it's so bad for you. The sulphites and the levels of sodium are killers.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Strangerland, My mother ate bacon almost daily and lived past 100 years.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland, My mother ate bacon almost daily and lived past 100 years.

If you were eating the diet of 100 years ago, adding the amount of bacon they ate 100 years ago, with the quantity of sulphites and other chemicals they used in bacon 100 years ago, with the amount of activity they did 100 years ago, you'd be fine eating bacon daily.

Eat bacon daily with our current diets, with the current additives in bacon, with our current activity levels, and you will currently not likely live past 100.

I hope you don't think it makes sense for the majority to base their life choices on the experience of a single outlier (your grandma).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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