Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pea greens

Captain's Log, Supplemental

I’ve always loved sautéed “pea greens” at Chinese restaurants. They have a yummy, slightly nutty flavor, mild, that reminds me of young broccoli.

However, seeing as I can’t speak Chinese, and most Chinese Nationals will not recognize the English “pea greens,” I usually only have them when I’m with my Chinese-speaking friends.

It never occurred to me to try to search for info on pea greens on the web, but in the book I’m working on now, The Lone Rice Ball, the heroine speaks Cantonese. She’s also a health nut and despite indulging in carb-laden Chinese food in this scene, she’d certainly order some vegetables to balance things, as it were.

I finally found out what pea greens are called in Chinese:

In Mandarin: dou miao (dough meow)
In Cantonese: dau miu (dow as in “down” minus the n, mee-you)

Don’t even ask me what the pitched tones ought to be, but that’s the words, at least.

Since my heroine, Venus, speaks Cantonese, she orders dau miu at the restaurant. She also gets the larger, more mature pea greens (here) rather than the small, young pea shoots (the first picture above). Both taste yummy, although the larger pea greens might have more fiber.

(My husband understands a teeny bit of Taishan, which is another Chinese dialect, but he doesn’t know what pea greens are called in Taishan.)

Eating Asia also had an interesting blog post about pea greens. I totally didn’t know anything about them until I read this.

One website article on Dou Miao Information mentioned that their friends just said “dough meow” and a Chinese waiter understood what they were asking for, even without the correct tone. So, maybe there’s hope for me yet the next time we go out to eat Chinese food.


  1. since this post is on the subject of asian family went to our first ever Japanese Hibachi Grill Restaurant tonight. we had a blast. except for one of my sisters, none of us knew what to expect. the food was really good. my dad missed the shrimp when the shelf threw it at him, and my sister really thought the chef had spilled sauce on her with the fake bottle. even more cool was that the restaurant owners were Chinese so when they found out my mom was, they struck up a conversation and we got a bigger discount on dinner.

    just thought i'd share :)

  2. Oh that photo there looks extremely yummylicious. :) I love pea greens, too. I just never knew they were called that. They're in abundance here in Malaysia.