Hainanese Za Cai

海南杂菜 (合家欢)

A comforting, homestyle veggie stew traditionally served during New Year's in Hainan.


  • 2 tbsp stir-fry oil

  • 2 tbsp dried shrimp

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 8 wood ear mushrooms (kikurage)

  • 8 shiitake

  • 1 negi / leek

  • 1 medium carrot

  • 8 baby corn

  • Handful of yuba

  • 3 leaves napa cabbage

  • Small handful of dried glass noodles

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce

  • 1 tbsp Chinese soy sauce

  • 1/2 tsp white pepper

  • 1 tsp sesame oil

  1. Chop all vegetables into bite-sized pieces. 

  2. Heat a wok over medium high-heat. Add stir-fry oil and fry dried shrimp and garlic until lightly browned and fragrant. Add mushrooms, negi, and carrot and stir-fry for a few minutes, until browned. Add yuba, baby corn, and cabbage and continue stir-frying for a few more minutes, until those are softened as well.

  3. Add glass noodles, chicken stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and white pepper. Mix well and adjust the seasoning to taste. Turn the heat to low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, until most of the liquid has cooked off.

  4. Finish with a final drizzle of sesame oil and serve hot.

This recipe was featured in the weekly menu of Issue #5 of the Journey East Zine alongside:

Grace Kwan © 2020