Tag Archives: Chinese Chives

What exactly are Garlic Chives (韭菜) a.k.a Chinese Chives?

Garlic Chives are chives that have garlic-like flavor but are not really garlic.  The “bulbs” are not bulb-looking like onions/garlic and they are (urgh!) rough, fibrous and not at all appetizing. I would not term them as edible.

Rhizomes with massive roots.

These so-called “bulbs” are actually part of thick sturdy rhizomes that are their root form. To actually retrieve them from the soil takes quite a bit of slow deep digging as those roots, growing downwards are almost equal in length to their green leaves that grow upwards.

Some divided rhizomes with fibrous lumps that do not look like garlic at all.

I decided to continue my Split-&-Spread mission (just like my Sand Ginger) except they will temporarily be in pots to adjust and adapt to new soil and conditions … then be planted amongst tomatoes and eggplants, keeping them company, repelling pests that dislike the garlic “stench”. Heck, it might even repel people who dislike the garlic fetor!

Looking kind of miserable in individual pots at present.

Soon there will be little bunches, and though grown as companion plants, they will still be trimmed to be used in my kitchen.

Just for information:  Garlic lovers dating garlic haters, you can eat this in cooked dishes like omelets, stir-fries, pizzas, u-name-it … enjoy the garlicky aroma because you are safe! After a while your breath will not stink of garlic!

On the internet and in gardening stores, you can buy their seeds under the names Garlic Chives or Chinese Chives. Why do almost everyone call it Chinese Chives ~ everyone, except the Chinese? And why do the Chinese call it 韭菜 (pronounced jiǔ cài in Mandarin & ku-chai in the Hokien dialect) when word for word it translates to ‘Leek Vegetable’ … when it’s not even a Leek?  Go figure!!