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What is Da Dou Miao and Xiao Dou Miao ?

19 years ago

I hope that there are some gardeners who know Chinese here to help me out. Like to find out what is Da Dou Miao and Xiao Dou Miao in English. I suspect that they are both Peas, but which kind -- Snow Pea, Snap Pea or Shell Pea ? And what makes a Dou Miao 'Da' (big) or 'Xiao' (small) ? Is it the cultivars ? Appreciate any input. Thanks.

Comments (8)

  • 19 years ago

    Pea shoots = Pea vines = Dou miao = Pisum sativum

    In Chinese, the two types are distinguished by calling them "large'' and "small'': da dou miao and shao dou miao. Da dou miao, the large shoots, are also sometimes called wan, (late) because they come from the mature pea plant. This linguistic tidbit is not important in the grocery store because you can easily see the difference between the large shoots and the small sprouts. But in a restaurant, you might want to ask if the dish is made with large or small dou miao, for two reasons:

    To ensure you get the type you want in the dish you want -- in stir-fries, da dou miao are more tender; in soup, both are fine; in salads, shao dou miao have the better flavor.

    To know what you are getting for your money -- large dou miao are much more expensive, as raw ingredients, than the small ones, but this difference is not always reflected in the menu price.


  • 19 years ago

    Hi Violet, thanks for your help and providing the link source! It is very informative! But I would still like to find out if the shoots and sprouts of ALL kinds of peas, ie, Snow Pea, Snap Pea and Shell Pea can be eaten as Dou Miao ? Do you know of any specific cultivars that are better for growing for this purpose ? Thanks again.

  • 19 years ago

    Good question, ieozok. I've eaten theh pea shoots at a restaurant, one of my mom's favorite dish, and I've wondered about this very point. My mom says it is the young snow pea shoots/leaves but regarding the exact cultivars, don't know.

  • 19 years ago

    Maybe you can find some information from this link. It is a discussion a while ago

    Here is a link that might be useful: snowpea-tip discussion

  • 19 years ago

    piksi_hk, the Large Dou Miao is one of our favorite dishes too, but so expensive ($10 a dish) compared to the others; and I've never seen them on the grocery stores. Which is why I'm thinking of growing my own.

    Changsong, thank you very much for the link discussion! It definitely helps out. Now I know NOT to eat my Snap Pea/Shell Pea leaves, :-).

  • 19 years ago

    I've been happily harvesting doumiao for the last two springs. I generally pick the first two nodes (top shoot) when they have four nodes. They will then grow side shoots and I will pinch again. One observation I have is that my harvest is generally smaller than the one sold in Chinese market, so I wonder if my way to harvest is correct or not? Should I wait for them to grow a bit more before pinch out the top shoot? Or maybe it is just the cultivar I grow? (I grow something called dwarf white snow pea, one of the fastest growing type).

  • 19 years ago

    Bob Wu,

    I've had the same experience. My home-grown pea shoots are never as big as those available in Chinese grocery store. I think it is because I don't fertilize enough. I have tried using inoculator, could not notice any difference. It must be the soil fertility.


  • 17 years ago


    I believe technically, the tendrils of all edible snap pea and snow pea can be used but that doesn't mean you'll like them.

    See also the following:

    Here is a link that might be useful: Favorite peas for growing pea shoots?

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