Chinese leeks (蒜苗) are characterized by their flat green leaves and mild onion flavour. They are not to be confused with spring onions or chives, though they belong to the same Allium tricoccum family of vegetables, along with garlic and onion.
They are popularly used in both western (such as the classic potato and leek soup) and Asian (commonly in stir-fries) cuisine.
Because of its Chinese name – 蒜苗/大蒜 (Suan Miao/Da Suan), where “蒜” sounds like calculating (“算”) in Mandarin, those celebrating Chinese New Year like to consume this vegetable (usually on the eve and 7th day) as an auspicious symbol of wealth (lots of money to count) in the coming year.
1) Scientific Name: Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.) or Allium porrum
2) Chinese (both simplified and traditional): 蒜苗 (suan miao) or 大蒜 (da suan)
To clean leeks, slice them half lengthwise, then wash thoroughly as there is soil trapped in between the leaves. Pat dry with kitchen paper towels and slice accordingly.
Store vegetables in the crisper (vegetables) section of the fridge for about 1-2 days.
Look out for fresh and green leaves, with no signs of wetness or rot.
Check out recipes with leek as a key ingredient.
Where to Purchase it in Singapore
In wet markets and supermarkets.
References and Further Reading