Hakusai, The Most Googled Food Of 2023; Read More

Hakusai, also known as Napa cabbage or Chinese cabbage, just became one of the most Googled foods of 2023 in India. So, why is desi Internet obsessed with a cabbage? This leafy green is celebrated for its mild, slightly sweet flavour and also for its numerous health benefits and culinary adaptability. 

It’s a staple in several Asian delicacies, be it noodles, stir fries or mains and given the popularity of Asian cuisines like Chinese, Japanese, Korean etc, it’s not hard to see why Indians could not stop googling Hakusai. 

Hakusai is believed to have originated in East Asia, particularly in China, where it has been cultivated for centuries. It has elongated, oblong-shaped and tightly-packed leaves and a pale green to yellowish colour.  There are several varieties of hakusai, each with its own unique characteristics. Some common types include the Wong Bok variety, which is often used in Chinese cuisine.

The cabbage offers an array of essential vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. The vegetable is also low in calories, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a healthful addition to their diet.

Like many cruciferous vegetables, hakusai contains antioxidants, including beta-carotene and flavonoids. These compounds play a role in protecting the body's cells from oxidative stress and inflammation.

Is Hakusai The Same As Kimchi?

Hakusai is a key ingredient in the preparation of kimchi, a traditional Korean fermented dish primarily made of cabbages. Mixed with chilli pepper, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings, hakusai undergoes a fermentation process, resulting in a tangy and spicy condiment known as Hakusai. However, kimchi can also be made with other cabbages and veggies.

Hakusai is commonly used in raw preparations such as salads and slaws. Its mild flavour and crisp texture make it an ideal base for salads. Its leaves and stalks absorb flavours well and retain their crunch even when they’re cooked at high heat. Stir-fried hakusai is often seasoned with garlic, ginger, soy sauce and added to noodles or served as a standalone dish.


In Chinese culture, hakusai holds significance during the celebration of the Chinese New Year. It is a symbol of prosperity, and the pronunciation of "hakusai" in Mandarin sounds similar to the phrase "hong sheng," meaning prosperity and wealth. In Korea, the communal preparation of kimchi for the winter months is a customary activity under kimjang tradition. Hakusai plays a crucial role in this process as well.

How To Buy It?

Due to its widespread popularity, it’s available in most supermarkets and online grocery portals. When selecting hakusai, look for heads that are firm, with crisp leaves and no signs of discolouration. Also, look out for tightly packed leaves which can help you determine their freshness. 

Hakusai can be stored in the refrigerator by wrapping the whole head in plastic wrap or placing it in a perforated plastic bag. This can help prevent dehydration and when stored properly, it can last for several weeks in the refrigerator.