GBA Lifestyle News
Food & Drink Section
By Yannie Chan | July 23rd, 2019

A Hong Kong wet market guide.

We feature a different seasonal ingredient and inspirational recipe in each installment of Market Watch. Without further ado: 

Chinese Red Amaranth 紅莧菜

While amaranth greens 莧菜 yeen6 choy3 can be found in the market all year round, its sister variety Chinese red amaranth 紅莧菜 hohng4 yeen6 choy3, easily distinguishable by its streaks of red and purple, is a summer delicacy. It’s usually available from early summer to early fall. 

Chinese red amaranth is soft, tender and has a distinct earthy flavor. “Compared to regular amaranth greens, these red ones are even more flavorful,” says 三妹 sahm6 mui6 “Sister Three”, a wet market vendor with over 30 years of experience. “Its strong taste pairs well with rich-tasting ingredients, and it’s great for stir-frys and soups.” A catty costs $13 at her stall. 

In Chinese food culture, one big philosophy is 食補 sick6 bo2 “food therapy”, which means to treat our daily diet as a way to prevent illnesses preemptively. That is also why Chinese red amaranth comes highly recommended in the summer, during which we are prone to be 熱氣 yeet6 hay3, or have too much heat in the body. The vegetable is known for its “heat-clearing” 清熱降火 ching1 yeet6 gawng3 faw2 properties.

Tips and Tricks

Wash carefully. Chinese red amaranth’s thin stems can hide quite a bit of sand, so wash carefully. This is how Sister Three cleans it: “Cut all the roots in one go, wash each vegetable individually, and then rinse for two to three times.” 

Add it last. This vegetable is tender and cooks very quickly. “You want to add it last in most dishes, and do not overcook it,” Sister Three says. “A minute or two in the heat will do, and nothing more.” 

Recipe Idea: Easy Chinese Red Amaranth Broth 

Sister Three recommends an easy Chinese red amaranth broth 上湯浸紅莧菜 surng6 tawng1 jum3 hohng4 yeen6 choy3. The finished soup will have a lush purplish hue. 

What you’ll need: 

  • Chinese red amaranth
  • Chicken stock
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Cooking oil
  1. Wash each Chinese red amaranth strand individually to remove any sand. 
  2. Peel and crush garlic roughly. 
  3. Pour more oil than usual into wok or pan. When the oil is heated, add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. 
  4. Add in chicken stock and let it boil. 
  5. Add Chinese red amaranth. Turn down fire to low-heat, and let simmer for one to two minutes until soft and the broth takes on a purplish hue. 
  6. Turn off the fire, and season with salt. 


三妹菜檔 sahm1 mui6 choy3 dawng3 “Sister Three Vegetable Stall”
Stall 43, Shui Wo Street Wet Market, Kwun Tong.