Different from the cabbage and with no counterpart in other countries, Hakusai is a winter leaf vegetable unique to Japan. Other than salt-pickled Tsuke Mono, it’s used for Nabe or pot cuisine for collective eating-while-cooking. Indeed, it’s almost indispensable for the dish, and some people like it half-cooked while others love it well-done. As its basic idea is food sharing, everyone eats from the same Nabe (pot), and sometimes a minor problem comes up. When one has waited for enough and pokes for his soft, well-broth-absorbed Hakusai, it’s all gone! He’s like “Where’s my Hakusai I reserved here for me?” Then the other says, “Whoa... was that yours? I didn’t see the name on it. But why the wait? Hakusai tastes the best when it’s still Shaki Shaki (fresh and sappy).” “You are wrong! It tastes the best when it’s overdone and almost melting!” It may not be a big deal, but still, it’s not fun if you have to surrender your portion so easily. So the tip is to check if your Nabe group has quick Hakusai eaters. If there are, don’t hesitate to change the group!
(Photo: Typical Hakusai Tsuke Mono.)