Zhacai is the tuber of a Chinese mustard green preserved in a chili pepper spice mix. Long known in the West as "Sichuan preserved vegetable," it traditionally came in a can as a whole, knotty tuber that had to be rinsed and was made in Taiwan. But the home of zhacai is actually the Fuling District of Chongqing, an independent municipality that was previously part of Sichuan province. This Fuling zhacai is pre-sliced and ready to eat as a condiment for congee and Sichuan noodle soups or a side pickle with any meal. It should not be confused with Sichuan's Yibin yacai, which is made and tastes completely different.
This zhacai is called wei la, or slightly spicy, and in American terms would be considered moderately spicy. The company deems it the perfect spice level for most uses, and we have to agree, as it has a nice kick without being too hot.
Wujiang is a well-known maker of zhacai, but these packets escaped English labeling. Please note ingredients here and well as expiration date, which is April 2018 (packet is stamped December 2016, the manufacturing date). Once open, transfer any remaining pickle to an air-tight container and store in refrigerator.
Producer: Wujiang, Chongqing Fuling Mustard Group
Size: 3 foil packets, each 80 grams (8.5 ounces total)
Ingredients: mustard, salt, chili, soy sauce, vegetable oil, seafood powder, ginger, garlic, white wine, sugar, xanthan gum, monosodium glutamate, acesulfame-k