Historically, people in northeast China have only had a supply of potatoes, turnips and Chinese cabbage in winter. In order to have enough vegetables to consume in the winter, they preserved their vegetables in autumn. This is why each family made jars of pickled Chinese cabbbage for consumption in winter and early spring.
In order to make pickled Chinese cabbage (suan cai), Chinese cabbage is placed outside in the open air for two or three days before being placed in jars. Each layer of Chinese cabbage is spread with a little salt, and a rock is placed on the top layer. Water is added until the Chinese cabbage is covered. Pickled Chinese cabbage will be ready to eat after about one month. Today, northeast China enjoys a steady supply of vegetables even in the winter months and Chinese cabbage is sold at the affordable rate of one yuan per kilogram. However, many local people still prefer to make pickled Chinese cabbage themselves.
There are many ways to eat pickled Chinese cabbage: Fried sliced pickled Chinese cabbage with sliced meat; Stewed pickled Chinese cabbage with meat; Chinese ravioli stuffed with pickled Chinese cabbage and minced pork or beef.