Ya cai is one of the hardest to find ingredients in Sichuan cooking. Preserved mustard greens (碎米芽菜, suì mǐ yá cài), also known as pickled cardamine sprouts, are a common acidic addition that complements the flavors of Sichuanese cuisine. My experience of trying to ask (both customers and staff) for help finding it was just as Fuchsia and some of the commenters here have described – confusing for everyone, especially when I insisted it wasn’t bean sprouts or zhacai I was after. Glad to know it is the best around! I’m not sure if they stock it in Chinatown, but I will try to check next time I’m there…. Which shop is stocking ya cai? Apologies for the poor photography, but here are pictures of the niuhua yacai I found at Ming’s: I was very happy to discover today that my local Chinese supermarket stocks Sichuanese ya cai 芽菜, a speciality of the southern Sichuanese city of Yibin, and a vital ingredient in dishes like dry-fried green beans 干煸四季豆 , dan dan noodles 担担面 and dry-braised fish 干烧鲜鱼. The bag looks a lot like the one posted by Fuchsia, but is not identical. Your email address will not be published. Not noticed it there myself, although haven’t been looking if I’m honest. It was also the one used at the Sichuan Institute of Higher Cuisine when they demonstarted dan dan noodles, so apparently there is only one manufacturer of Ya Cai in the world. However since you’ve kindly provided the picture, I will mail it to family & friends in the NY area & see if they can find it & perhaps mail it to me (which I do with several other foods I can’t get here). I spent about 20 minutes going jar by jar in the aisle where I thought they’d be. I’ve never seen it in the store, but it appears to be available from Even better, it was on sale when I looked. I try to obtain things via mail order when I can. mel, in which store in NY did you see it? I’ve used your books to track down a bunch of delicious ingredients in the wonderland that is Flushing, Queens. If you find yourself there, they are sold in these small packets (about 5″x5″) on shelves directly across from the butcher counter near the registers at the front of the store. Does anyone know where I can get this in Bristol, UK? Thanks for this. They’re in the upstairs section not on the ground floor. Do you know if anywhere in Chinatown is now stocking it? Americanized Sichuan food made without Sichuan peppercorns can’t possibly begin to duplicate the real taste of Sichuan. I asked Chinese friends returning to Beijing to bring some back for me, but after much hunting and blank looks from shopkeepers, they were told that yacai could only be found in Sichuan. I use it in my noodle/egg/sausage concoctions, along with pickled olive leaves and chili peppers. But its deep umami has made this item a traditional sweet-salty condiment on the Sichuan family dinner table. Thank you… Since I’ve bought them in Beijing, I was wondering what’s this… Now I know what to look for, when my iron ration will be gone…, My problem with packets of Ya cai is that I’ll use a bit for my dan dan mian or dry fried beans and then just shovel the rest greedily into my mouth… ridiculously addictive. Unfortunately where I live now ingredients like this are precious & rare. I had the bean sprout problem happen to me when shopping for ya cai in Queens, New York a few months ago. You’ll likely find them in other stores in Flushing or in the Kam Man Supermarket in Edison NJ but Great Wall is a good one-they have a excellent stock of seafood, meats ,veggies etc and most important , a free parking lot. Here, the preserve is sold in little sachets, chopped and ready to use. This is the same brand I use too. Fuschia – why don’t you have your own online store?! I bought what I hope is yacai on the exact spot Jose described in his 14 march 2014 post. I have a large and generally good Chinese supermarket nearby (Wai Yee Hong), but can’t find it there – they do have pixian chilli bean paste though. Thanks for the suggestion. With rice of course. Suì mǐ yá cài looks just like other pickles. If any of you have tried asking for ya cai in Chinese shops, you may have found that the staff there point you in the direction of beansprouts, causing great confusion on both sides. It is a key ingredient in Sichuanese dan dan noodles and dry fried green beans. This is because the Chinese characters for Sichuanese ya cai are exactly the same as the characters for beansprouts, and most people outside Sichuan have not heard of ya cai! I shall get myself to Yu Xiao this weekend. Basic HTML is allowed. I can’t wait to christen a package with some dan dan mian! …,,, Enjoy ! I’ve tried using tianjin preserved veg instead, and though it comes in a really cool jar, it hasn’t given the dishes the taste I remember, it’s also really, really salty – even when I’ve rinsed it first as Fuchsia suggests. Looking forward to delicious Dan Dan Noodles again. This identical brand and package is found in New York and Chengdu. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Delicious! Yes, thanks! Try this recipe the way Maggie suggests, and you won’t be disappointed!

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