Green Bean Dish in Chinese Restaraunts.

Are the green bean looking vegetables you see in Chinese restaraunts, especially buffets, actually green beans? The reason I ask is because I really like them and would assume they’re a healthy thing to eat but have a hard time believing they’re actually green beans as I know them since I hate green beans.

So, are they? Or are they some cousin of their’s? What kind of cooking method is used to make them? Steaming? Stir frying? Thanks in advance.

I think you enjoy them because they are cooked in oil…usually in a wok or sauteed in a pan. Veggies cooked in oil are often alot better tasting to some people than their steamed counterparts. (French fries versus baked potato, for example). The beans also benefit from garlic and/or salt. Cooked in oil, it is no surprise they are delicious.

Oops, forgot the mention that I have seen the staff sitting at tables and snapping the ends off the fresh beans - Big tables full of them, all being prepared.

As with pretty much all foodstuffs everywhere, preparation is the key. That’s why chefs make so much more money than short-order cooks.

Usually, the green beans you describe are prepared by being stir-fried in vegetable (or peanut or sesame) oil. As they near doneness, soy sauce and fresh garlic are added, as well as fresh grated ginger sometimes, and maybe finely-ground black pepper. That’s it. They’re easy to make at home – just experiment to find the right proportions of all the ingredients to suit your taste.

They are also fresh beans as Philster noted. There is a world of difference between fresh, canned, and frozen green beans, with frozen being the closest to fresh imho. Also look for long beans at the Asian grocery store nearest you, they are like the name implies, green beans that are a good bit longer and are great in Thai food and essential to Thai fish cakes.

The sauce they use is most likely oyster sauce which I think goes just about perfectly with green veggies.

You may also be being served these

Link with picture at the bottom

You can usually tell them in food because both ends have been cut (I assume to make them fit into the pan and onto the plate. When I have had them, they have also tended to be straighter then a standard greenbean.

Your ordinary green or string beans are Phaseolus vulgaris and look like this. What you’re probably getting in Chinese food are Chinese long beans Vigna sesquipedalis, which look like this.

The Chinese restaurant 2 blocks from my house (yes, I’m a lucky bastard :D) serves string beans in a garlicy black bean sauce. And I believe they actually are what we commonly refer to as string beans, in this case at least.

American Chinese restaurants serve both string beans and long beans. If you live in a town that does not have a large asian community you will probably get string beans. I like both.

After looking at the pictures, it looks like what I am familiar with is long beans. How easy are those to find?

Depends on where you are. Asian specialty stores should have them, as well as certain well-stocked supermarkets.

As a Northwest doper, Aes should have no trouble finding an appropriately stocked market.

Mmmm. Asian vegetables. Did I mention, mmmm?