What’s the Difference Between Chinese and Regular Eggplant?


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In the Mediterranean, they are known as aubergine. However, the Americans called them eggplant, Australian recognized them as eggfruit, the Africans refer them as garden egg, while the Asians, particularly the Native Indian, named them as brinjal.

But I’m guessing you are here not to debate about their name, right? Instead, you are confused about regular eggplants and Chinese eggplants. What are the differences between them?

Well, you have come to the right place.

In this post, I will give you the key differences between a regular eggplant and a Chinese eggplant, as well as a little extra information about other varieties of eggplant that you might want to try.

Read on to know more.

What is meant by “regular eggplant”?

Before we dive into the main meaty topic, I just want to make sure that we are on the same page.

When I say regular eggplant, what I meant is the eggplant that you commonly buy in the grocery stores.

Often times, the eggplants that are sold in the grocery stores are the standard globe eggplant or otherwise known as Western or American eggplant.

They are the largest and cheapest types of eggplant commonly available in the grocery stores.

So in this particular post, I will lay down the main differences between the American eggplants (known as the regular eggplants) and the Chinese eggplants.

What is “Chinese eggplant”?

Chinese eggplant is one of the varieties of Asian or Oriental eggplant that is cultivated across China and Asia.

They are usually characterized by their slim and cylindrical shape.

Chinese eggplant is also known as Oriental Charm and Pingtung Long.

Did you know? Other than being eaten as foods, the roots, leaves, and fruits of Chinese eggplants are used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to help relieve illness such as toothaches, fever, and intestinal disorders.

Chinese eggplant vs. Regular eggplant. 7 key differences that you should know

A regular eggplant can be differentiated from the Chinese eggplant based on their size and shape, color, length, the number of seeds, flavor, and application.

The difference in size and shape between regular and Chinese eggplant

Differentiating the size and shape of regular eggplant from Chinese eggplant is fairly easy because the two of them are very different in appearance.

Regular eggplant is the fattest eggplant with a globe or oblong shape. Some characterize them as having a teardrop shape.

On the other hand, Chinese eggplant is more slender with skinny and cylindrical in shape.

The difference in color between regular and Chinese eggplant

Typically, regular eggplant is darker than Chinese eggplant.

Chinese eggplant can be easily identified by their pale or light lavender to purple skin, while the regular eggplant has dark purple skin.

The difference in length between regular and Chinese eggplant

Regular and Chinese eggplants have pretty much the same length. However, regular eggplant can grow longer than Chinese eggplant.

Regular eggplant has a length ranges from 15 cm to 25 cm, while Chinese eggplant is about 15 cm to 20 cm in length.

The difference in the number of seeds between regular and Chinese eggplant

Chinese eggplant contains little amount of seeds compared to the regular eggplant.

The difference in flavor or taste between regular and Chinese eggplant

Generally, the amounts of seeds affect the bitterness of eggplants.

The more seeds an eggplant has, the bitter it taste.

Due to the fact that Chinese eggplant has less number of seeds, it is not bitter like that of typical eggplant and tends to have a mild and sweet flavor.

In fact, Chinese eggplant is considered to have the most delicate flavor of all eggplants varieties.

On the other hand, regular eggplant is less flavorful.

The difference in cooking and application between regular and Chinese eggplant

Because of the different size, shape, and texture of regular and Chinese eggplant, they are perfect for selected cooking and delicacy.

Being the largest and fattest eggplant variety, regular eggplants have a big and meaty texture and flesh that you can chop and slice up to make grilled or roast eggplant.

Chopped regular eggplants are also best for stews, dips, and ratatouille.

Chinese eggplants, on the other hand, has a slimmer shape with flavourful texture making them perfect for stir-frying, sautes, braising, and even grilling.

The great thing about Chinese eggplants is that they have tender flesh that cooks faster than other eggplant varieties. Their flesh will also become extra creamy as they are cooked.

Furthermore, they can hold up well to different flavors including spicy, sweet, and savory flavors.

P/S: If you don’t know what to do with your eggplants, I highly recommend this Eggplant Cookbook by Nancy SilvermanOpens in a new tab.. From main courses to appetizers, this cookbook got you covered. You can even get it for FREE with kindle unlimited. Happy cooking! 🤗

Eggplants that can be used as substitutes for the regular and Chinese eggplant

No eggplant is created equal.

Certain eggplant recipes may not work out the same when you try to use different types of eggplant in your cooking as each variety may have a different flavor.

The following are some recommended types of eggplants to be used if you wish to substitute regular or Chinese eggplant in a recipe (adapted from The Cook’s ThesaurusOpens in a new tab.).

For regular eggplant, the recommended eggplant to replace them are Italian eggplant which is smaller yet similar, or Japanese eggplant.

One regular or American eggplant is equivalent to 3 Japanese eggplants. So if you plan to use Japanese eggplant as the substitute for regular eggplant, try to adjust the recipe according to this measurement.

For Chinese eggplant, the recommended substitutes are Japanese eggplant which is very similar to Chinese eggplant, or small Italian eggplant.

Other unique varieties of eggplants that you may want to try

You might be thinking that all eggplants are purple and oblong, right?

Well, you are wrong.

Here are some of the varieties of eggplants that you might never heard of and are worth to try.

Casper eggplants

Ever saw a white eggplant?

Casper eggplants are elongated in shape and have the color that defy the common belief of purple eggplant, they are white!

They can be found particularly in Southeast Asia.

Compared to the American eggplant, Casper eggplants have a more delicate taste but firmer flesh.

Some say that they have a mild flavor that almost tastes like mushroomOpens in a new tab..

Calliope eggplants

This spineless eggplantsOpens in a new tab. are unique in the sense that they are oval in shape with violet and white-streaked.

Calliope eggplants can be found in Asia, Europe, and even Africa.

Rosa Bianca eggplant

Rosa Bianca is the Italian heirloom that grows in a hotter region.

They are round with white and lavender streaked.

They are not bitter and in fact, have an incredibly sweet flavor with a mild flesh and creamy texture.

Thai eggplant

Thai eggplant is shaped and sized like a golf ball.

In terms of flavor, Thai eggplant tastes bitter than the regular eggplants so it is recommended to remove their bitterness first before using them. This can be done by removing their seeds.

They are usually colored green with a mix of yellow or white. Nevertheless, they can come in a variety of colors.

Turkish eggplant

The weird thing about this eggplant is that it is shaped and looks like a tomato.

This red and orange eggplant can be found in Asia and Africa.

It has rather soft flesh and tastes somewhat bitter.

Are Chinese and Japanese eggplant the same? Though sharing very similar features with each other, Japanese and Chinese eggplants are not the same. Japanese eggplant is slightly smaller and has a dark purple skin while the Chinese eggplant usually has lighter purple skin and more delicate flavor.

Eina Aivoges

Eina Aivoges is a certified health and wellness coach and a licensed medical laboratory scientist. She's also a foodie, avid coffee drinker, cat-lover, blogger, and traveler.

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