Bok Choy: 10 Fun Facts

Medically Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on May 08, 2014
From the WebMD Archives

A staple in Asian cooking, this round-leafed vegetable may be less familiar to American cooks. Here's what you need to know -- including what its name means, how to wash it, and how to use it.

1. Bok Choy's Name

Bok choy is sometimes referred to as white cabbage, not to be confused with Napa cabbage, which is also a type of Chinese cabbage. There are many kinds of bok choy that vary in color, taste, and size, including tah tsai and joi choi. You might also find bok choy spelled pak choi, bok choi, or pak choy.

2. Its Plant Family

Bok choy might look a lot like celery, but it’s a member of the cabbage family.

3. History

The Chinese have been cultivating the vegetable for more than 5,000 years.

4. Where It's Grown

Although the veggie is still grown in China, bok choy is now also harvested in California and parts of Canada.

5. Cooking It

Bok choy, known for its mild flavor, is good for stir-fries, braising, and soups. You can also eat it raw.

Bok choy is sometimes called a “soup spoon” because of the shape of its leaves.

6. How to Clean It

The leaves and the stalks can both be cooked, but they should be separated before washing to ensure that both parts are thoroughly cleansed.

7. Keeping Bok Choy

For optimal freshness, don’t wash bok choy until you’re ready to use it. Unused parts can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.

8. Nutrition Facts

The veggie is packed with vitamins A and C. One cup of cooked bok choy provides more than 100% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of A, and close to two-thirds the RDA of C.

9. Growing Bok Choy

The veggie takes about 2 months from planting to harvest and thrives best in milder weather.

10. Bok Choy: The Soup Spoon

Bok choy is sometimes called a “soup spoon” because of the shape of its leaves.

Bok choy is sometimes called a “soup spoon” because of the shape of its leaves.


Sesame Asian Bok Choy Salad

Makes 4 servings


3 cups thinly sliced bok choy

1 cup chopped Napa cabbage

1 large red pepper, sliced

1/2cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup chopped, seeded cucumber

1/2 cup snow peas, blanched

1/4cup sliced green onions

1/4cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup unsalted peanuts

Salad Dressing

2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 Tbsp lime juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

2 tsp sesame oil

1 Tbsp olive oil


1. Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl, and toss to combine.

2. To prepare dressing, whisk together all salad dressing ingredients.

3. Drizzle dressing over salad, and toss gently to coat.

Per serving: 229 calories. 9 g protein. 22 g carbohydrate. 14 g fat (1 g saturated fat). 6 g fiber. 9 g sugar. 348 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 44%

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