Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 108 – Garlic Chives


Friday food is an occasional article about one of the more unusual food items to be found in Liuzhou that week. This time we are going for what sounds like a hybrid, but isn’t. Garlic Chives.

Garlic chives aren’t garlic. Or chives. They are members of the same family, the alliums which includes garlic, chives, onions, leeks etc. Specifically these are Allium tuberosum, and are also known as Chinese chives, Oriental garlic, Chinese leek etc. In Chinese they are 韭菜. They come in three main forms. The leaves, stems with flower bud, and yellow garlic chives.

garlic chives 1

Garlic Chives   韭菜   1.20元

The mature plant is rather attractive with long stalks bearing white flowers. A clump of leaves is found at the bottom of the stalks. The leaves, stalks and unopened flower buds are all used as food in a similar manner to chives, spring onions (green onions) etc and are often used in stir-fries. They are also used in jiaozi with pork or shrimp. The white flowers are occasionally used as a spice.

They do have a distinct garlic flavour and scent and so are more reminiscent of garlic than chives.

When sold with the flower buds attached they are known as 韭菜花. The bunch below cost 2元

garlic chives 2

Garlic Chives with flower buds. 韭菜花


They are also sold as yellow garlic chives. These are the same plant, but are deprived of light when growing and remain yellow rather than turning green. They are known as 韭黄.



These are often sold vacuum packed and opening the packet can be a highly sensory experience as the garlic scent escapes. The flavour is more subtle and mild. A 200g pack costs around 5元.  Yellow garlic chives are usually stir fried with eggs with which they have a certain affinity. They can also be used in stir-fries with pork or seafood.

Scrambled duck eggs with garlic chives and raw tuna

Scrambled duck eggs with garlic chives and raw tuna

. This entry was posted on Friday, January 17th, 2014 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.

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