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I found this item at a Chinese supermarket.

enter image description here

Hints:

  1. It was in a fridge
  2. It was humid (almost wet) and fresh
  3. The "slices" were 2-3 mmm thick

I googled for "Chopin", "Chopin food", "Chopin Chinese", etc. to no avail. Too many music related hits returned!

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Is it a dough? I can imagine it being used as the outer shell for dumplings. But it is hard to tell just from a picture, it could be saitan in sheets too, or something completely different. –  rumtscho Dec 19 '13 at 22:52
    
@rumtscho No, it wasn't a dough. But I can't say if it was an animal or vegetal byproduct –  belisarius Dec 19 '13 at 22:53
    
I asked an Asian colleague at work and he said that the Chinese label on the box says dried cabbage but he hasn't seen anything like this before –  Divi Dec 19 '13 at 23:01
    
@rumtscho do you mean seitan as in wheat protein? –  NOTjust -- user4304 Dec 19 '13 at 23:02

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Those appear to be bean curd sheets (ie. tofu sheets). They're a common find in Asian shops.

Here's what they look like when nice and fresh Here's what they look like when nice and fresh

But they can also be dried. But they can also be dried.

The OP picture looks like it's somewhere in between; maybe hasn't been cared for too well. It looks like it should look like the first photo but has been left uncovered and has dried around the edges.

I think the cabbage label is just a simple mistake/misplacement. Dried or cured cabbage would still have a visible cellulose structure while the OP picture has a consistent look (if not tofu, then it's certainly something reformed from something like flour or meal - seitan as mentioned in a comment is a likely runner-up).

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Thanks a lot for your answer. Do you have any clue about the "chopin" label? –  belisarius Dec 20 '13 at 0:40
    
"I think the cabbage label is just a simple mistake/misplacement." Make sense. The item itself could really be tofu sheets! –  Silvia Dec 20 '13 at 0:50
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@Silvia Now I need to go and buy some just to be able to accept an answer :) –  belisarius Dec 20 '13 at 1:21
    
@belisarius Mybe a close photo showing the texture detail would be enough :) –  Silvia Dec 20 '13 at 1:40
    
@Silvia I doubt I can do better than this i.stack.imgur.com/ZEJa6.png –  belisarius Dec 20 '13 at 1:58

"高麗" is the ancient name of Korea. However, "高麗菜" (where "菜" means vegetable) has nothing to do with Korea, but just how people call cabbage in Taiwan and Fujian. (It's unclear why people use this phrase.) The making process involve drying the cabbage leaves in the sun, so it's called "乾" (in simplified Chinese "干"), which is the name of the Sky in the Bagua, so the category name of any dried things.

According to this blog from Taiwan (it was written in traditional Chinese, but you can see the photos to have some rough impression about how the blogger made the 高麗菜乾 for her/his own family using:), people hang up the cabbages on shelves and dry them in the sun untill the cabbages become dry and soft, then salt it and rub it gently, then wait until it become soft (I guess also more pliable), then put a heavy stone on them to push the remaining moisture out of the leaves, then again hang them and dry in the sun, this time, untill completely dried. Now you can seal them in containers and keep them in fridges.

So for conclusion, I believe it's a kind of cured cabbage maybe produced in Taiwan, and if you like cured food it should be delicious! :)

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Thanks a lot, Silvia! Very informative answer. I'll buy a few the next time I go there! –  belisarius Dec 20 '13 at 0:14
    
@belisarius Always my pleasure :) –  Silvia Dec 20 '13 at 0:19
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@belisarius buy, don't loot. So nice to see this helpful extraMMA interaction between you two :) –  Rojo Dec 20 '13 at 3:10
    
@Rojo Best Chinese (price/performance) in BA facebook.com/pages/Restaurant-Palitos/284659821556010 –  belisarius Dec 20 '13 at 3:39
    
@belisarius Thanks :). Hopefully I'll check it out soon –  Rojo Dec 20 '13 at 3:44

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