I bought this leafy green at H-Mart, a Korean supermarket. It was labelled "Monchoy", but I can't find anything online for that term! Both raw and sautéed, it has a slimy texture reminiscent of okra, and I'd like to figure out how it's typically cooked. What is this vegetable usually called, and what part of the world does it come from?

photo of leafy green

3 Answers 3


Although it's hard to say without seeing the stalks, your description of the flavor and texture is consistent with Malabar Spinach, also called Wood Ear. It's used in a variety of Asian and African cuisines.

  • 8
    Yes, it's called "Montoi" in Vietnamese, and in Asia it's known as Vietnamese Spinach. Are you sure that it's called Wood Ear, though? I thought that was a mushroom.
    – FuzzyChef
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 0:43
  • 3
    @FuzzyChef This page claims that "wood ear vegetable" is the word-for-word translation of the green's name in Chinese.
    – A_S00
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 2:10
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    @A_S00: That makes sense, but the “vegetable” is crucial. “Oyster mushrooms” shouldn’t be confused with “oysters”; “wood ear vegetable” is not “wood ear”. A slightly more idiomatic, but still fairly literal, translation might be “vegetable wood ear” or “wood ear greens”, since we don’t usually use “X vegetable” as the name of types of vegetable in English.
    – PLL
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 13:33
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    it's never, ever, called "wood ear" and I suggest just removing that from the otherwise excellent answer. A_SOO ... "word for word" translations mean nothing. It's never called "wood ear"
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 6:27
  • 1
    Note: botanically, it is not in the same plant family as spinach although it looks very similar.
    – Wastrel
    Commented Apr 8, 2023 at 15:45

It's called Malabar spinach,my family grows this kind of vegetable in china.


It's definitely of the spinach family. I put spinach in my spaghetti bolognese for years so I know it well.

  • This doesn't really add anything given the previous answers. Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 14:34
  • That’s probably at least partially incorrect. Malabar spinach (as identified by the other posters) is Basella alba, while spinach is Spinacia oleracea. They are not in the same family. Wikipedia has a nice overview of plants that are called <something> spinach.
    – Stephie
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 21:39

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