Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

Friday Food 122 – Wolfberry

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 looking at the Wolfberry.

Wolfberries  枸杞子

Wolfberries 枸杞子

The Wolfberry or Goji plant (Lycium barbarum or Lycium chinense),  Chinese 枸杞* is native to China, but is now grown in the US and UK, among many other countries. This popularity derives from the promotion of the plant as some sort of miracle ingredient. Most of the claims made for the supposed health benefits simply don’t pass basic scrutiny; many are exaggerated; some are just ridiculous.

The red berries (枸杞子) are usually sold dried. Rehydrated and cooked, they are used in soups, hot pots, stews etc. THey turn up in rice porridge (congee) and in various sweet foods. They are made into a hot drink and used in Chinese rice or sorghum wines.

These are widely available in all supermarkets and grocery stores. ¥95.80/kg. I hate to think how long a kilo would last. Millennia. I usually buy a 100 gram bag which lasts me months.

Less well known is that the leaves of the plant are also used in China as a leaf vegetable.

Wolfberry leaf  枸杞采/枸杞叶

Goji leaf 枸杞菜/枸杞叶

In Chinese the leaves are either 枸杞菜 or 枸杞叶. Young  stems are edible, but more normally the leaves are stripped from older, woody stems. They are simply stir fried or added to hot pots.  ¥5.56/kg. ¥1 will buy you enough to feed the family. * Please stop writing to tell me that I”ve got the Chinese wrong. I haven’t. Yes,  is normally ‘third tone’ – gǒu. But when two ‘third tones’ occur together the first changes to ‘second tone’ – here góu – as I have correctly labelled it.

. This entry was posted on Friday, May 2nd, 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. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

3 Responses to “Friday Food 122 – Wolfberry”

  1. Jim Mahler Says:

    In ancient times (by which I mean, when I started trying to learn Chinese) the tone sandi was written by the standard third tone “u” with a standard second tone “/” inside it. That symbol seems to have fallen out of use these days.

  2. Flight Medic Says:

    Is the wolf berry one of the “eight treasures” of ba bao cha? I haven’t had that tea in 20 years.

  3. Liuzhou Laowai Says:


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