"Pressed vegetable." Zhà cài is a type of preserved or pickled mustard originating from the Szechuan region of China. It is made from the knobby fist-sized swollen green stem of a variety of mustard. The stem is first salted, pressed and dried before being rubbed with hot chile paste and allowed to ferment in an earthenware jar. This preservation process is similar to that used to produce Korean kimchi. The taste is a combination of spicy, sour, and salty, while the aroma is similar to sauerkraut with hot chili paste. Its unique texture -crunchy, yet tender - can only be vaguely compared to western pickled cucumbers. Zhà cài is generally washed prior to use in order to remove the chili paste and excess salt coating the preserved vegetable. Although originating in Szechuan, zhà cài is also used frequently in the cuisines of southern China, particularly in a soup made with ground pork and mǐfěn ((rice vermicelli), and also as a condiment added to congee. It is generally sliced into thin strips and used in small amounts due to its extreme saltiness, although this saltiness can be tempered somewhat by soaking the strips in water prior to use. A famous and popular Chinese dish featuring zha cai is "zha cai and pork strings with noodle" (Chinese: 榨菜肉絲麵, zhà cài ròu sī miàn). Zha cai is also an ingredient of ci fan tuan (糍饭团), a popular dish in Shanghai cuisine.