The Cai Xin is a leafy vegetable from the Mustard family and is arguably one of the most common vegetable Singaporeans consume on a daily basis. From local wet markets to Cold Storage, the popular Cai Xin can be found almost everywhere you can find fresh greens.
The popularity of this vegetable is attributed to the fact that all parts of the plant can be eaten (and is extremely nutritious!) and they grow well in the tropical climate. Another reason the Cai Xin is consumed so regularly is because of its cheap price point and more importantly, its versatility. This hardy vegetable can be prepared in many different ways and is cooked within minutes.
Also Known As
Of course, the popularity of this vegetable extends beyond the boundaries of Singapore. The Cai Xin is a staple in Asian cuisines, so you can be sure that this vegetable is available throughout Asia! While it is known as Cai Xin in Singapore and other Chinese-speaking areas, you would probably have to look it up by its other aliases if you are looking to purchase this vegetable in other parts of Asia.
Chinese – Cai Xin
English – (Asian) Mustard Greens
Cantonese – Choy Sum/Yau Choy
Vietnamese – Cai Ngot
Thai – Pakauyai/Pakaukeo
Japanese – Saishin
The Cai Xin is known for its bitter leaves and its flavour is commonly described as a cross between the spinach and cabbage. Depending on the age of Cai Xin during harvest, the younger leaves are a little blander in flavour, and the older ones develop a stronger taste.
Because of its bitterness, some parents prefer to blanch it before serving it to their children. Doing so removes some of the bitterness and makes it more palatable. Seasoning it well and incorporating some kind of fat (such as olive oil) can also temper with the bitterness and round out the flavour, making the Cai Xin delicious.
Touted as one of the most nutritious vegetables available in Singapore, consuming the Cai Xin indeed brings along a lot of benefits. Besides the usual benefits of aiding in digestion encouraging bowel movements, the benefits of introducing this leafy green into your diets can actually fill up a whole list! Here are some of the nutritional benefits of the Cai Xin:
i) Vitamins & Minerals – Rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, the Cai Xin is extremely beneficial to your immune system. This vegetable is also rich in Folic Acid (also known as Vit B9) which is needed for almost every function of your body. Containing over 14 minerals, Calcium and Potassium are the notable ones that you can get from this leafy green and these minerals are crucial in ensuring bone health.
ii) Anti-Oxidant & Anti-Carcinogenic – There are compounds within the Cai Xin that when consumed regularly, can aid in fighting off the growth and development of cancer cells.
iii) Other Benefits to the Body – This common vegetable also has other wondrous benefits! For the ones watching their cholesterol level, the Cai Xin lowers your cholesterol levels. For the ones who drink regularly, this leafy green has the ability to detox your liver and for everyone else, this Cai Xin is also known to help improve your skin quality.
We can’t find any reason not to include this leafy green into our daily diets. Can you?