My Top Ten Favorite Asian Veggies

Bidin is a type of wild fern found in Borneo.  Best fried with sambal blacan (prawn paste).  It is crunchy on the outside and juicy inside.


Kacang Botol (four-angled bean) – The winged bean plant grows as a vine with climbing stems and leaves, 3–4 m in height.  Commonly fried with sambal balacan.


Mani Cai (star gooseberry or sweet leaf) is also known as Cangkok Manis in Malay.  The leaves are squeeze or crushed by hand before frying.  This vegetable has a natural sweetness and commonly stir fried with egg.

mani cai

Chinese Chives (Ku Cai) is also known as garlic chives.  This is a common ingredient in chinese dumplings and has a strong garlicky taste.

chinese chives

Kai-lan (also written as gai-lan) is the Cantonese name for a vegetable that is also known as Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale. It is a leaf vegetable featuring thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems and a small number of tiny flower heads similar to those of broccoli.


Kang Kong – This plant is known in English as Water spinachRiver spinachWater morning gloryWater convolvulus, or by the more ambiguous names “Chinese spinach”“Swamp cabbage” and “Kangkong” in Southeast Asia.  It grows well in swamp and waterway hence require little care.  A very popular authentic dish in Malaysia and Singapore, Kangkong Belacan.


Chinese Eggplants – There are so many varieties of egg plants, some round and some longish.  Also known as brinjal or aubergine.


Chinese Long beans also known as snake bean has a much crunchier taste than french beans.  The price is double if not triple that of french beans in New Zealand which is the opposite in Malaysia where they are cheaper alternative to french beans.  My favorite dish is long beans cooked with minced pork and black bean sauce.  Because of the scarcity and price of long beans, most restaurants here use french beans as alternative.


Okra or Ladies Finger (known as Kacang Bendi in Malay) is a kind of slimy beans.  Mostly used as a vegetable in curries or stir fry.


Bitter gourd or bitter melon is normally used for soup of stir fry with black bean sauce.


Photo credits : little borneo girl & writers of related articles listed below.

Related Articles – More interesting reads on Asian Veggies

Amazing Benefits of Bitter Gourd

Interesting photographs of Chinatown Open Air Markets by Dave Bullock

The Cook’s Thesaurus – Eggplants

Malaysian Vegetarian Food – Mani Cai (Cangkok Manis)

CW’s Food & Travel – Eating in Kuala Lumpur

Asian Vegetables List

Traveling Chili article on Chinese Chives