[Tong Ho (China); Ssukgat (Korea); Pak thang-o (Thai); tan o, cai cúc (Viet); Skal bzang, kelsang (Tibet); Shungiku (Japan); Gui-chini (India); Garland Chrysanthemum, Crown Daisy; Chrysanthemum coronarium]
Native to the Mediterranean region, these slightly bitter greens are now popular in most Asian cuisines, particularly for soups and stews, but also for stir fries. In Taiwan they are used in oyster omelets, a popular night market food, and in Korea as one of the many Banchan (small side dishes) served with a Korean meal. Young shoots are eaten in Crete, and flowers, fresh or dried, are used in herbal teas. Most common here in Southern California is the Small Leaf Tong Ho, as in the photo, but a Broad Leaf Tong Ho is occasionally seen. The greens can be eaten raw in salads, but are more usually cooked. For any method, cooking time should be very short, and for soups and stews add for just the last few minutes. The greens are high in potassium, other minerals, carotene and antioxidants.
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