When you say the word “eggplant,” most people imagine the same thing: a large, dark purple fruit with an oblong shape. What they probably don’t know is that there are numerous different kinds of eggplant, many of which don’t look like the first one that comes to mind.
To help inform people about the types, we’ll be comparing and contrasting eggplant vs Chinese eggplant in this post. We’ll give you a quick description of each type, then compare them directly in a handful of different qualities.
“Eggplant” itself is too broad a descriptor. Because the bulbous and oblong eggplant most people think of is actually an American eggplant, that’s the type we’ll be using in this comparison. Some people also call it a globe eggplant.
These are some of the largest eggplants. Because of their big size, they’re perfect for slicing up – you’ll get large eggplant discs that will be more than a little filling.
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There are actually various types of Chinese eggplant, so we’ll be giving a very basic description here. Instead of the big, round eggplant you’re used to seeing, Chinese eggplants are long and thin.
They’re kind of shaped like large green beans. However, unlike green beans, they have that traditional glossy violet color you’re likely used to seeing in eggplant. You can find some more information on the different varieties of Chinese eggplant here.
Eggplant vs Chinese Eggplant: Comparison
Size and Shape
With just a quick look, you’ll notice one of the biggest differences between American and Chinese eggplant: their size and shape.
American eggplant is one of the most common types. For that reason, it’s what most people imagine in their mind’s eye when they picture eggplant. It has a large, rounded shape.
Chinese eggplant, on the other hand, is long and thin. Most varieties of it are kind of stringy in appearance, although there are some kinds that have similar shape to cucumbers, too.
This is another aspect in which Chinese and American eggplants are very similar. In general, both have a dark purple-blue kind of color with a gorgeous glossy sheen.
Both are beautiful enough to almost use decoratively. It’s worth noting, however, that there are some types of Chinese eggplant that are lighter in color.
If you’re interested in trying eggplant, but you’re worried it will be too bitter, then Chinese eggplant is a fantastic choice for you. It has a very manageable, almost sweet flavor that makes it a treat to eat.
American eggplant is also known for its gentler taste. Because its flavor isn’t very strong, it can go well in a range of recipes, and you won’t need to worry about it clashing with other foods.
Now what about growing either Chinese or American eggplant?
Like their other qualities, the growing conditions between these plants are remarkably similar.
Both like a similar pH for their soil, ranging anywhere from 6.0-.65 on average. Furthermore, they both like well-draining soil.
For either one of them, rows of plants should have at least three or four feet of space between them. They also each like getting a lot of sun every day.
They’ll each like to be watered well. We recommend around one or two inches a week. The water should be allowed to seep at least several inches into the soil.
Like most vegetables, these eggplant varieties may also be stored to be consumed later. Here's our guide to freezing eggplant slices.
Chinese and American eggplant have a lot in common with each other, whether it’s their growing conditions or their color. The biggest difference you’ll find between them is their flavor and shape.
So which one would we recommend you try? We think both of them are lovely, so we wouldn’t necessarily recommend one over the other. We say go with your instinct, or give both a try.
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