It’s not easy trying to cook like home in China. Things we take for granted every day can suddenly only be sourced through an internet search and a three hour long quest into the city. Lettuce is no exception. Don’t get me wrong, we can get lettuce in Qinpu. The varieties available are: Lettuce. That’s it. Chinese lettuce (yes, that’s really a thing). Salads get boring. They all look the same. They all taste the same. But what we can get is a wide variety of other leafy Chinese vegetables which we have started using raw as a lettuce substitute to curb the boredom. Hangzhou bok choi is one such vegetable. It is similar in texture and flavour to a Savoy cabbage, but has the added bonus of providing a fresh crunch to salads, thanks to its large midrib. So what do you make when you essentially have a cabbage, a few potatoes and a teeny tiny fridge (really, you should see it, shove a 5L water bottle in there and you’re pretty much at capacity) that needs a small half jar of mayo cleared out on a first in first out basis? Well, naturally, you make a Potato Caesar Coleslaw salad, of course.
This is a salad with an identity crisis. Like that country gal who runs away from home and moves to the big city to become an actress, only to pack it all in and go back to harvest the apple trees with pappa, it wants to be a fancy Caesar salad, but knows it is ultimately a good ‘ol potato salad at heart. You can substitute the bok choi for white cabbage, or pretty much any raw, leafy veg.
1 head of Hangzhou bok choi, finely sliced (equivalent to a 300g pillow pack of lettuce)
4 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and cubed
250g bacon, cooked and chopped
4 to 6 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and sliced in half
3 spring onions, finely sliced
Caesar dressing to taste
Mayo to taste
1) Combine equal quantities of dressing and mayo (as much as you prefer on a salad), season and set aside.
2) Toss the potatoes and bok choi together, pour over the dressing and give a light stir.
3) Pile the potatoes on a plate and top with the eggs, bacon & spring onions.