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This is also known in America as Chinese cabbage but goes under many other names. The variety Brassica rapa (Pekinensis) is also called celery cabbage, wong bok, da bai cai, celery cabbage or Peking cabbage (to name just a few). It is sometimes incorrectly labeled Bok Choy (a related cabbage).
Napa cabbage has a tight, compact head with thin yellow green leaves that are fluffy and crinkled at the tips. The spine of the leaves are white and crispy. The flavor of napa cabbage is mild, without the bitterness of common white cabbage.
The head is about ten to twelve inches long and heads usually weighs between 1 1/2 and 3 Lbs. As with lettuces, look for outer leaves that are not wilted and have a soft yellow green color. If the cabbage is browned or if there are small black/brown spots on the spines, don't buy it.
A similar elongated variety, the Michihli cabbage, is about 18 inches long and torpedo shaped, but similar enough to substitute in any recipe.
4 ounces napa cabbage = 18 calories, 0g fat, 0g sat fat, 0 mono fat, 1g protein, 4g carbohydrates, 10mg sodium, 0mg cholesterol