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Tianjin Preserved Vegetable aka Dong Cai (天津冬菜)

Tianjin Preserved Vegetable is pickled cabbage that originated in Tian Jin Region of China. The literal meaning of this vegetable is winter vegetable. It is very salty with a slight chew and crunch. The most popular brand for this is the clay pot variety that is glazed brown. Although other brands will work just as well.

How to Use Tianjin Preserved Vegetable

Commonly these Preserved Vegetable is used as a ingredients for cooking. You can use it in stir frys, soups and stewed dish. They add a salty umami flavor to any food. However, I mainly use it as a substitute for salt. If you do not wash it before hand, it can act a seasoning. It also gives the dish a slight chew and meaty texture. This is great if you are cooking a vegetable dish and want to give it a slight meaty texture.

Tianjin Preserved Vegetable Health and Nutrition

Aside from the sodium, there is nothing too bad about it. You do get quite a bit of dietary fiber at 4 gram per serving. I just wouldn’t eat too much of it due to the salt content. You can find the full nutritional fact below.

Tian Jian Nutritional Facts

Nutrition FactsValue
Serving Size1 Tablespoon (15g) Serving Per Container 40
Total Fat0
Saturated Fat0
Trans Fat0g
Sodium1410 mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate6g 2%
Dietary Fiber4g 16%
Total Sugar2g
Other Carbs0 g added sugar
Vitamin C4%

Ingredient List

Ingredient list is pretty natural and only contain a few stuff. TianJian Cabbage, Garlic and Salt. You cant get more natural than that. The garlic contain sulfur dioxide to promote color retention.

Where to Buy Tianjin Preserved Vegetable?

You can find these at any Chinese Supermarket. It is a very common ingredient in Chinese cooking. Some online retailer like Amazon carry it. Although they do charge a bit more than your local Chinese supermarket. You might be able to find in at Walmart as well.

Which to Buy

The original and most famous one is Tianjin Dong Cai. It has a brown exterior with a red white and blue label. In the past, the cover use to be a thick white piece of paper, today, it often comes with a plastic cap.

While it comes in a small portion size, these vegetables are meant to be used sparingly. If you dump the whole content in a dish, it will become too salty. Try a little before adding it to judge the saltiness.

In terms of storage, just use the plastic cap and cover. You do not have to store it in the fridge. They pretty much last forever.


This is a great ingredient to keep around if you plan on cooking chinese food. Try it in your soups, stir frys and stews. You wont be disappointed. They are also great for vegetarians since it gives the dish a meaty texture, much like how mushroom do. If you want a completely vegetarian mean, I recommend you check out DouGan. It is a vegan tofu that has a meaty texture.

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