Napa Cabbage

napa cabbage
photo credit: coprid


Also referred to as Chinese cabbage, Napa Cabbage is more versatile than the common green cabbage. The flavor is sweeter than green cabbage and rich in vitamin C and fiber. The leaves are long and crispy and used as an essential ingredient in stir fries as well as soups and many other Asian dishes. Napa cabbage is the main ingredient in Korean kimchi (fermented cabbage).

History And Current Production

The Napa Cabbage is really Chinese Cabbage (from China) and dates back to the fifth century A.D. It is believed to have been a naturally hybridized cross between pak choi and a turnip. The plant did not show up in Japan until the late 1800's but Japan has since produced many hybrids.

Napa Cabbage is produced in the US primarily in California and Florida to the tune of over 12,393 acres per year which is why it can be found almost as easily as the common green cabbage.

There are two varieties most commonly found in the US. The most common (show above) is "Napa" cabbage and is stockier with crinkled outer leaves - dark at the top and white towards the stem-end. The other type found in the US is called "Michihli" which is long and slender with ruffled top leaves.

Uses And Tips

Napa cabbage can be shredded and eaten in salads, steamed or added to stir-fries. It is NOT necessarily a good replacement for regular cabbage because it is delicate, bland and too "juicy" so select it as a substitution carefully.
  • Use as a wrap for spring roll ingredients and steam
  • Steam the thicken white stem portion and serve with a little bit of olive oil and white vinegar
  • Use in Hot Pot recipes or add to your favorite Sukiyaki
  • Napa cabbage pairs well with meat or vegetable broths, toasted sesame oil, tofu, mushrooms, ginger and bean sprouts.
  • Use in Asian "themed" salads and slaws

Unlike other popular Asian vegetables like baby bok choy, Napa cabbage is not typically used whole.  Napa cabbage is typically shredded, or chopped before it is used.  It can be cut in to quarters or halves then braised if that suits your recipe.


Napa Cabbage stores well refrigerated. Do not wash it first and place in a plastic bag. Store in the vegetable crisper for up to 2 weeks. When it is at its freshest use it raw in salads but as it gets older keep it for cooking only.

Where To Buy

Napa Cabbage can be found in most well-stocked grocery stores as well as in any Asian market or you local farmer's market.  Look for solid heads with no browning on the tips and leaves should have a nice sheen to them.

Substitutes For Napa Cabbage

Find the best substitutes for napa cabbage here.

Fun Fact about Napa Cabbage

Nutrition Information For Napa Cabbage

Serving Size
1 cup
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 12mg
Total Carbohydrate 2g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 1g
Vitamin A  0% Vitamin C  0%
Calcium  0% Iron  0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Featured California Grower

Chanel Island Farms - Growers of Asian and Domestic vegetables.

Channel Islands Farm, Inc. is named after the beautiful islands just off the coast of Ventura County, California. The company is a grower and distributor of fresh, California-grown Asian and Domestic vegetables. We grow our crops year-round on the coastal plains of Ventura County with additional winter acreage grown in the Imperial Valley during the months of November through March.


Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.