Chinatown vegetable markets are bursting with celery, but it’s not just any kind of celery. Chinese celery (Apium graveolens) has slenderer stalks than its Occidental counterpart; the leaves are bigger and more prominent, and the whole plant is ten times more pungent. Thus it is a vegetable with lots more potential than just something to dip in the blue cheese dressing after you eat your Buffalo wing. I like it chopped up fine in a salad dressing, or floating in a soup for extra zing. You can get an entire bunch of Chinese celery, consisting of about five plants with 30 or so stalks, for $1 at most Chinatown markets. Try thowing some in mom’s chicken soup, or using it in homemade Chinese dumplings. Or chop it up in tuna salad. Or top a salad with the leaves. You may never go back to regular celery again.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 21, 2009