Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 95 – Brake


Friday food is a weekly article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This week, we grind to a halt – with brake.

Brake or bracken is a form of edible fern, Pteridum Aquilinim, known in Chinese as 蕨菜 or 山蕨菜.


The purple stems are topped with young unopened fronds. At this stage, the fronds are known as ‘fiddleheads’ because of their supposed resemblance to er, the heads of fiddles! Or to the tuning keys on said instrument. These are particularly valued.



The vegetable with its stems is fried with meat – beef, chicken or even shrimp. The fiddleheads can be simply sautéed for about 5 minutes then lightly dressed with lemon juice, and are wonderful with simple steamed fish. Some people say the taste is close to that of asparagus. Not sure about that, but they are good.

The bunch in the first photograph cost ¥1.70 from Nancheng Supermarket.

Health Warning

Pteridum Aquilinim is considered by some authorities to be a carcinogen and there are suggestions that its popularity in Japan may be a contributory factor in the high rates of stomach cancer found there.

. This entry was posted on Friday, September 6th, 2013 at 7:00 am and is filed under Food and Drink, Friday Food. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Friday Food 95 – Brake”

  1. Vera Says:

    My favourite, brake, is a carcinogen?! Come on, can I say that it just depends on the way in which people cook it?

  2. Liuzhou Laowai Says:

    Sadly no. It contains a chemical which is believed to cause cancer. Nothing to do with with the cooking method. So, it’s lucky you couldn’t find it when you were here!

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