Cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflowers and broccoli

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Youngfun, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    How are these vegetable grouped in your language? Are some of them considered varieties of the same vegetable?


    Cabbage: cavolo / cavolo cappuccio (lit. hood cabbage)Chinese cabbage
    >Napa cabbage: cavolo cinese (lit. Chinese cabbage)
    >Bok choi: bieta cinese (lit. Chinese chard)
    Cauliflowers: cavolo / cavolfiore (lit. cavolo + fiore = "cabbage + flower" - cognate with English cauliflower)
    Broccoli: broccoli

    Both cabbage and cauliflowers are cavolo. To distinguish them, cabbage is cavolo cappuccio, while cauliflowers is cavolfiore.
    While Italians are not familiar with Chinese cabbages, those are the Italian names used in the market of the Chinatown of Rome.

    Mandarin Chinese (Northern usage):

    Cabbage: 卷心菜 juǎn xīn cài (lit. rolling-heart vegetable), 圆白菜 yuán bái cài (lit. round "white vegetale", see below), 洋白菜 yáng bái cài (lit. Western "white vegetale"), 包菜 bāo cài (lit. wrapped vegetable), 包心菜 bāo xīn cài (lit. wrapping-heart vegetable), 甘蓝 gān lán (lit. sweet blue :confused:. But scientifically, it means brassica oleracea)
    Chinese cabbage: 白菜 bǎi cài (lit. white vegetable)
    >Napa cabbage: 大白菜 dà bái cài (lit. big white vegetable) - but often called simply 白菜
    >Bok choi: 小白菜 xiǎo bái cài (image, lit. small white vegetable) || 油菜 yóu cài (image, lit. oil vegetable) - they are called the same in English, though I consider them different vegetables.
    Cauliflowers: 菜花 cài huā (lit. vegetable flower)
    Broccoli: 西兰花 / 西蓝花 xī lán huā (lit. Western blue flower)

    It makes sense that if in the West white vegetables are called "Chinese cabbage", then cabbages are called "Western white vegetable" in China. ;)
    So cabbages and Chinese cabbages are grouped together.
    If using a different word, then cabbages are grouped with broccoli (considered Western and flowered kind of cabbages).
    Napa cabbage and bok choi are grouped together. But while napa cabbage can be called simply "white vegetable", for the bok choi you have to specify "small white vegetable". Since "bok choi" comes from the Cantonese pronunciation of 白菜 this can be considered a false friend.
    This is the usage in Northern China. Not sure about other regions.

    Cabbage: 椰菜 (lit. coconut vegetable ?)
    Chinese cabbage: 白菜 (lit. white vegetable) (?)
    >Napa cabbage: 大白菜(lit. big white vegetable), 黃芽白 (yellow sprout - white ?), 紹菜 (Shaoxing vegetable ?)
    >Bok choi: 白菜 (lit. white vegetable) (?)
    Cauliflowers: 花椰菜(lit. flowered coconut vegetable)
    Broccoli: 花椰菜(same as cauliflowers)

    Here I'm not sure. If someone knows the proper Cantonese words, please correct me.
    Cauliflowers and broccoli are the same thing. They are distinguished only by color. They are also grouped together with cabbage, considered "cabbage with flower", same as Italian.
    For the Chinese cabbage, if one says simply "white vegetable" (without specifying big or small) he's referring to the small one (bok choi, from which the English word comes), contrary to the rest of China.

    Southern Wu - Wenzhounese (W) & Qingtianese (Q)
    Cabbage: 球菜 W: /dʑaʊ tsʰe/ Q: /tɕɨʉ tsʰe/ (lit. ball vegetable)
    Chinese cabbage: 白菜 W: /ba tsʰe/ Q: /be tsʰe/ (lit. white vegetable)
    >Napa cabbage: 大白菜W: /da ba tsʰe/ Q: /da be tsʰe/ (lit. big white vegetable) - but often called simply 白菜
    >Bok choi: 小白菜 W: /ɕiə ba tsʰe/ Q: /ɕiœ be tsʰe/ (lit. small white vegetable) || 油冬菜 W: /ʝaʊ toŋ tsʰe/ Q: /ʝɨʉ ɗoŋ tsʰe/(lit. oil winter vegetable), 香菇菜 W & Q:/ɕi ku tsʰe/ (lit. mushroom vegetable - they are often cooked together with mushrooms)
    Cauliflowers: 花菜 W: /fu tsʰe/ Q: /hu tsʰe/(lit. flowered vegetable)
    Broccoli: 花菜(same as cauliflowers), to be more specific: 绿花菜 W: /lo fu tsʰe/ Q: /liœʔ hu tsʰe/ (lit. green cauliflowers)

    Maybe because this is my native language, I find it the most logic way of grouping: cabbage with Chinese cabbage, cauliflowers with broccoli*.
    As Mandarin, 白菜 alone means napa cabbage, not bok choi.
    小白菜 is the same as Mandarin, while 油冬菜 and 香菇菜 are the synonyms for the Mandarin 油菜.

    *I know that scientifically they are all Brassica, but actually I don't perceive any similarity between cabbages and cauliflowers. And aren't cauliflowers and broccoli different only in color?
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  2. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi Youngfun,

    In Greek:

    Cabbage: «Λάχανο» ['laxano] (neut.) < Classical neut. noun «λάχανον» lắkʰanŏn found mostly in plural form as «λάχανα» lắkʰană --> vegetables (in Modern Greek we still call vegetable/-bles «λαχανικό» [laxani'ko] (neut. nom. sing.), «λαχανικά» [laxani'ka] (neut. nom. pl.) < v. «λαχαίνω» lăkʰǽnō --> to dig (with obscure etymology).
    Chinese cabbage: «Κινέζικο λάχανο» [ci'neziko 'laxano] (neut.), a verbatim translation.
    >Napa cabbage: «Λάχανο νάπα» ['laxano 'napa].
    >Bok choi: «Μποκ τσόϊ» or «Μποκ τσόϋ» [bok 't͡so.i] (both spellings are common).
    Cauliflower: «Κουνουπίδι» [kunu'piði] (neut.) < Byz. Greek «κανωπίδιον» kanopíðion, neuter diminutive of the Koine neuter noun «κάνωπον» kắnōpŏn --> cauliflower (with obsure etymology).
    Broccoli: «Μπρόκολο» ['brokolo] (neut.) < Italian loan word broccolo.
  3. xmarabout

    xmarabout Senior Member

    French - Belgium

    In French:
    Cabbage: Chou It is the generic term for species (Brassica oleracea)
    Chinese cabbage
    >Napa cabbage: chou chinois (lit. Chinese cabbage)
    >Bok choi: bok choi (but also from the same sub-species: navet)
    Cauliflowers: chou-fleur(lit. "cabbage + flower")
    Broccoli: broccoli

    But, of course, there are a lot of other species of cabbages:
    chou de Bruxelles (of course originally from Belgium)
    chou rouge
    chou blanc
    chou pointu
    chou frisé
    chou pommé also called chou cabus
    chou romanesco
  4. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Thanks, apmoy and xmarabout.

    So French is like Italian, grouping cabbage, Napa cabbage and cauliflower together.
    Wikipedia says that napa cabbage are called Pei-tsaï. Is that a common word?

    My favorite broccoli is chou romanesco. It's a coincidence that I grew up in Rome. :D
  5. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Kål - cabbage
    Vitkål - white cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba)
    Rödkål - red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra)
    Savoykål - Savoy cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. sabauda)
    Spetskål - pointy cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata conica)
    Grönkål - green cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica/acephala)
    Purpurkål - purple cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) a red variant of the green cabbage
    Palmkål or svartkål - palm or black cabbage Nero di Toscana (Brassica oleracea var. acephala)

    Blomkål - flower cabbage (cauliflower) (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)
    Broccoli - broccoli (Brassica oleracea, var. cymosa) (an old Swedish name was sparriskål - asparagus cabbage)
    Broccolo or romanesco - romanesco cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis)

    - Brussels sprouts (Brassica oleracea var. gemmifera) (an older name is rosenkål - rose cabbage)

    Kålrabbi - kohlrabi (Brassica oleracea var. Gongylodes)

    Kålrot -
    rutabaga or swede (Brassica napus Napobrassica-gruppen)
    Rova and majrova - turnip (Brassica rapa ssp. rapa)

    Kinakål or salladskål - Chinese or salad cabbage (Brassica rapa ssp. chinensis var. perviridis)
    Pak choi (Brassica rapa var. chinensis)
    Kailaan or kinesisk broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra)
    While the kinakål is commonly used in Sweden, the two others are rare, you can find them sometimes in shops, or buy seed and grow them yourself
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  6. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    Cabbage: капуста /kapusta/
    Chinese cabbage I don’t know and Wiki is silent :eek:
    Cauliflower цветная капуста /tsvetnaya kapusta/ - flower cabbage
    Broccoli - брокколи /brokkoli/
    Brussels sprouts - брюссельская капуста /brusselskaya kapusta/ - Brussels cabbage
    Kohlrabi - кольраби /kol'rabi/
  7. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    китайская капуста! :D
  8. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
  9. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)

    Brassica oleracea (wild) = brukev zelná;

    cabbage = zelí (cf. zelený = green, zelenina = vegetable);
    Savoy cabbage (var. sabauda) = kapusta (< L. composita?, originally it meant cabbage like in Russian);
    Brussels sprouts = růžičková kapusta (růžička = little rose);
    kohlrabi = kedluben (< Ger. Kellrüben);
    cauliflower = květák (< květ = flower; colloq. karfiol < cavolfiore);
    broccoli = brokolice;

    čínské zelí (= "Chinese cabbage");
    pekingské zelí (= "Peking cabbage"), it's something else than čínské zelí;
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  10. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    In Dutch the main word is 'kool'.

    Cabbage: kool
    Chinese cabbage Chinese kool
    Cauliflower - bloemkool
    Broccoli - broccoli
    Brussels sprouts - spruitjes
    Kohlrabi - koolrabi
  11. Havfruen Senior Member

    English - American
    Kale is a close relative of all of these. All are in the family Brassica.
  12. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    In Sweden kale is known as grönkål (green cabbage).
  13. arielipi Senior Member

    Cabbage: כרוב kruv
    Chinese cabbage
    כרוב סיני kruv sini
    >Napa cabbage: כרוב סיני kruv sini
    >Bok choi:
    bak choi
    Cauliflowers: כרובית kruvit ( kruv + female ending)
    Broccoli: ברוקולי broccoli
    Brussels sprout כרוב ניצנים kruv nitzanim (
    nitzanim is the very first stage after the seed has been planted, and things start popping from the soil)
    Kohlrabi כרוב הקלח ברוקולי kruv hakelakh, broccoli.
    Red cabbage כרוב אדום kruv adom ( the regular, green cabbage is called כרוב לבן kruv lavan (white cabbage) )
    Acephala group כרוב עלים kruv alim (leaves[=leaf] cabbage)
    Capitata group כרוב הגינה kruv hagina garden cabbage
    Turnip לפת lefet
    Rapeseed לפתית liftit
  14. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Thanks guys, your contributions are interesting.
    I've corrected my first post, I was wrong. Cabbage in Italian is cavolo cappuccio, not verza. While verza is savoy cabbage, a vegetable typical of Northern Italy.
    Thanks to Wikipedia and WR dictionary, I'm adding new stuff.

    Romanesco broccoli: broccolo romanesco (romanesco means something typical of the Roman folk). Other terms: broccolo romano, cavolo romanesco, cavolo romano, cavolfiore romanesco, cavolfiore romano.
    Savoy cabbage: cavolo verza (=verza cabbage), or verza. Also cavolo di Milano (=Milan cabbage), cavolo lombardo (=Lombard cabbage), cavolo di Savoia (=Savoy cabbage).
    Brussels sprout: cavolino di Bruxelles, cavoletto di Bruxelles (=Bruxelles little cabbage)
    kohlrabi: cavolo rapa (=turnip cabbage)
    kale: cavolo riccio (=curly cabbage), cavolo verde (=green cabbage, same as Swedish)

    Romanesco broccoli: 宝塔花菜* báo tǎ huā cài (=treasure tower cauliflower? :confused:).
    Savoy cabbage: I don’t know and Wiki is silent :eek:
    Brussels sprout: 抱子甘蓝 bào zǐ gān lán (=hugging child cabbage), 球芽甘蓝 qiú yá gān lán (=ball sprout cabbage), colloq. 小洋白菜 xiǎo yáng bái cài, 小圆白菜 xiǎo yuán bái cài, 小卷心菜 xiáo juǎn xīn cài, 小椰菜 xiǎo yē cài (they all mean "small cabbage", see the many synonyms for cabbage in #1)
    kohlrabi:苤蓝 piě lán, 撇蓝 piě lán, 擘蓝 bò lán (they are all sth+蓝, so are considered kinds of Brassica), 芜菁 wú jīng, colloq. 大头菜 dà tóu cài (=big head vegetable)
    kale: 羽衣甘蓝 yǔ yī gān lán (=feather-clothed cabbage), 无头甘蓝 wú tóu gān lán (=head-less cabbage), 海甘蓝 hǎi gān lán (=sea cabbage), 叶牡丹 yè mǔ dān (=peony with leaves)

    As always, Chinese has lots of synonyms...
    *They are not common in China. In my family in Italy we just call it 绿花菜 (green cauliflower = broccoli) - we don't even distinguish cauliflowers and broccoli, so for us Romanesco broccoli are just broccoli. :D

    I think that's cavolo nero (=black cabbage) in Italian.
    That's interesting. You change the spelling of broccoli to mean Romanesco broccoli?
    According Wikipedia they are called either Romanesco broccoli or Roman cauliflowers in English. But many people also say Romanesco cabbage.

    If they are the same as the Latin scientific names.
  15. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Yes, Brassica chinensis (čínské aka pak-čoi) and Brassica pekinensis (pekingské).

    Brassica pekinensis is commonly used, however it is often incorrectly called čínské zelí (Br. chinensis) which is rather rare in our country.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  16. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    In Greek:

    Romanesco broccoli: «Μπρόκολο ρομάνο» ['brokolo ro'mano]
    Savoy cabbage: «Λάχανο Σαβοΐας» ['laxano savo'] (lit. cabbage of Savoy).
    Brussels sprout: «Λαχανάκι Βρυξελλών» [laxa'naci vrikse'lon] (lit. little-cabbage of Brussels).
    Kohlrabi: «Ραπάνι» [ra'pani] (neut.) < Byzantine neuter diminutive «ῥαπάνιον» rhapánion & «ῥαφάνιον» rhaphánion, of Classical masc. noun «ῥάφανος» rhắpʰanŏs --> turnip, rape (PIE *rāp-, rape (vegetable) cf Ger. Rübe); also «γογγύλι» [ɣoɲ'ɟili] (neut.) < Byz. neuter diminutive «γογγύλιον» goɲɟílion, of Classical masculine noun «γογγύλος» gŏŋgúlŏs --> anything round (PIE *gong-/*geng-, lump, lumpy); also «ρέβα» ['reva] (fem.) < Fr. rave.
    Kale: «Λαχανίδα» [laxa'niða] (fem.) < Byz. fem. noun «λαχανίς» laxanís (the feminine form of the neuter noun «λάχανον»)
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  17. Grefsen

    Grefsen Senior Member

    Southern California
    English - United States
    Grazie/Xie Xie/Thanks for starting this interesting thread Youngfun. :thumbsup:

    I really enjoy eating cabbage, but didn't realize there were so many different types. :eek:

    When I just checked the Wikipedia site for more information about "Chinese cabbage" I came across the Dutch word "Paksoi." When I clicked on Wikipedia's English version of "Chinese kool" I was redirected to the Napa cabbage site:

  18. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Yes, there's a certain confusion between the two types of Chinese cabbage... see here.

    I think napa is more common than bak choi in Europe, so napa is called "Chinese cabbage" in many countries.
    Even in Chinese. In most of China 白菜 (bai2 cai4) without specifying big or small means generally "napa", while in Cantonese 白菜 means generally "bak choi" (hence the name in English).

    I guess "Wong Bok" should be the Cantonese pronunciation of 黃白 (abbreviation of 黃芽白 as I wrote in #1). Chinese immigration in Australia and NZ is mostly Cantonese.
  19. Tonky Senior Member

    Hi, another interesting thread, YoungFun!

    Cabbage: キャベツ kyabetsu (loanword from English cabbage or French caboche)
    Chinese cabbage: 白菜?but we do not usually include Bok choi for 白菜. For Chinese vegetables, 中国野菜.
    Napa cabbage: 白菜 hakusai (lit. white vegetable)
    Bok choi: 青梗菜 / チンゲンサイ chin gen sai (loanword from Chinese? It is said to have come from 華南, China, around 1970s when Japan and China restablished diplomatic relations. Many farmers grow them here now.)
    Cauliflowers: カリフラワー karifurawā (loanword from English) ; 花キャベツ hana kyabetsu (lit. flower cabbage)
    Broccoli: ブロッコリ/ブロッコリー burokkori (loanword from English)

    Regarding cabbage, the below are mainly known here and often distinguished from normal cabbages.
    紫キャベツ murasaki kyabetsu (lit. purple cabbage) Mostly eaten raw in salad, leaves have vivid purple color
    葉牡丹 habotan (lit. leaf paeonia) Ornamental kalecabbage and some people call this 花キャベツ too
    グリーンボール gurīn bōru (green ball) It's a kind of cabbage but it is usually ball-like round, thicker leaves.
    芽キャベツ me kabetsu (lit. cabbage sprouts)
    (savoy cabbages are well-known too, but most consumers still consider them cabbages. And it may be only my area, but I hardly see Kohlrabi (コールラビ in Japanese) in usual markets.)
    for reference:

    So, I think cabbages and napa cabbages (and maybe lettuce too here, though it is not in the same group scientifically) are grouped together in Japan, but I doubt people would include Bok choi there. Farmers or hobby gardeners (which is popular lately) do, due to their own experience of growing them, but many consumers would treat bok choi as a kind of "green vegetables" such as spinach, or just as "Chinese veges", I think.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  20. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    こんにちは, Tonky.
    Probably yes. The pronunciation is very close to the Chinese qīng gěng cài.

    Chinese: 紫甘蓝 zǐ gān lán (=purple cabbage)
    Italian: cavolo rosso (=red cabbage)

    I don't know if it's the same thing as radish....

    Kale? Same as (one of many) Chinese word for kale.

    It looks like the same thing as cabbage to me...

    野菜 is a false friend: apparently it means "vegetable" in Japanese, but "wild herb/vegetable" in Chinese.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  21. Tonky Senior Member

    I know it is not the same as radish :p but it is a cabbage like this.
    As for radish, we call ラディッシュ(loanword, radish) or 廿日大根/二十日大根(hatsuka daikon, meaning 20-day-大根)

    >.< sorry, I meant cabbage... we do have ケール(keeru, loanword from kale) too.

    ha ha, I know what you mean. Probably those who do not cook much may just consider them the same, but whoever cooks a lot distinguish it from cabbages. It is just a kind of cabbage and tastes like cabbage, but those who are interested in do not call them cabbages. Sometimes a mother sends her son to buy a cabbage and he buys a green-ball and then gets yelled at or vice versa ;)

    My 2 cents; normal cabbages are oval, it's harder (tougher) inside, green-ball is like a soccer ball and a bit smaller than normal cabbages, it's softer inside but the leaves are thicker and best eaten raw or pickled. it is also said that green-balls have more nutritious too, but do not grow in cold areas.
    Oh really? did not know that, thanks for your heads-up!
  22. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Judging from the photos I get when searching the Japanese name I would guess that it's either a head of a young early cabbage, in Sweden called sommarkål (summer cabbage), that later will become an ordinary cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. alba), or if the leaves are thinner and crisper it may be a kind of lettuce, in Sweden called isbergssallad (iceberg salad)
    This is the red variant of ordinary cabbage, (Brassica oleracea var. capitata f. rubra). It's not as common as the white variant, but in Sweden it's a classical dish for many on the Christmas table.
  23. Tonky Senior Member

    Is a young early cabbage/sommarkål just a cabbage you harvest early? If so, then it is not the same. A Green-ball does not change its shape. However, It could be our "春キャベツ/spring cabbage", even though I'm not sure if they grow to become a normal cabbage later... Its harvest season is different.
    Iceberg is called レタス/lettuce here :)

    Ah yes, except for that it actually looks like the red/purple variant of "green-ball".
    It is possible that what is called cabbage in Europe is green-ball here, even though I thought I heard green-balls cannot survive in a cold climate.

    Here is another comparison picture, from the top left;
    春キャベツ/spring cabbage ---- (冬)キャベツ/normal cabbage
    グリーンボール/green-ball ---- ちりめんキャベツ or サボイキャベツ/savoy cabbage
    プティ・シュー・ベール(petit chou ~? probably French)/young savoy --- 芽キャベツ/brussel sprouts
    紫キャベツ/purple cabbage --- 黒キャベツ(black cabbage) or カーボロネロ/"Cavolo Nero", Italian

    ※I just noticed now, but in the above link it says "green-ball" is a hybrid from Danish cabbage called "Copenhagen Market".
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  24. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    There are several cultivars of cabbage and I think that the "green-ball" is just a cultivar (variant) of the common cabbage that has been selected to tolerate a hot and humid climate, see these variants from a Japanese seed company, while the "Copenhagen Market" is more suitable for a colder climate, like these ones. The only difference between spring, summer and winter cabbage is that they are different cultivars, depending on when they are ready to be harvested, the spring and summer variants grows quickly and are not suitable for storage, the winter cabbage takes longer to mature and can be stored until early spring.
  25. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    I'm not sure, but I think here in Northern China (colder climate) cabbages are bigger and oval, similar to what you call "normal cabbages", while in Southern China (hot and humid) cabbages are round like balls, similar to what you call "green balls" - in fact in my dialect it's called 球菜 "ball vegetable".
    But they are considered the same thing in China. :p

    Sorry >.< I got confused by the false friend... what I meant is radicchio in Italian, according to Wikipedia called "radicchio" or "Italian chicory" in English - but now I see that cavolo rosso (lit. "red cabbage", =purple cabbage) is different.
  26. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    Actually, in Cantonese (at least in Hong Kong!) we say 椰菜花 (cabbage flowers - cf. Fr. chou-fleur) for cauliflower and 西蘭花 for broccoli, like everyone else. :)

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