exotic food china

Laba Garlic: Chinese Green Pickled Garlic

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What is laba garlic?

Laba garlic (腊八蒜) is a Chinese dish that is traditionally made on the Laba Festival, which falls on the eighth day of the twelfth month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. The name “Laba” actually refers to this festival, and thus, “Laba garlic” translates to “garlic prepared for the Laba Festival”.

The preparation typically involves soaking peeled garlic cloves in vinegar for several weeks, starting from the Laba Festival. The acid in the vinegar slowly turns the garlic a vibrant green color. It’s typically served with dumplings during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year).

It’s worth mentioning that the Laba Festival has religious significance in both Buddhism and Daoism, and many different types of foods are prepared as part of the celebration, with Laba garlic being only one part of the tradition. For example, it’s also common for people to consume Laba Congee, a special porridge made with a variety of grains and nuts, on the Laba Festival.

What kind of garlic should I use to make Laba Garlic?

To make laba garlic, you can use literally any kinds of fresh garlic from supermarkets. If you don’t want to peel garlic, you can just buy peeled garlic cloves.

Single head garlic also works but it requires a larger jar for pickling.

Print Recipe
4 people

Laba Garlic Home Recipe

Sour, spicy and slightly sweet pickled garlic as an appetizer or eat with noodles.
Keyword: garlic, sour, sweet, vinegar
Prep: 10 days
Total: 10 days


  • 1000 g peeled garlic cloves
  • 500 g rice vinegar
  • 30 g sugar, optional


  • Peel the fresh garlics and wash thoroughly.
  • Prepare a clean glass jar and put garlic cloves in.
  • Optional. Add 30g sugar if you want your laba garlic taste slightly sweet
  • Add rice vinegar to the jar just above garlic cloves, then seal the cap firmly.
  • Place it in conditions between 10-15 degrees Celsius (50-59F) where it can get sunlight. Pickle for about 10 days until the garlic turns a jade green color, then move it to a cool, shady place for storage. Use it as needed.
Nutrition Facts
Laba Garlic Home Recipe
Serving Size
100 g
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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About the Author

Hello, I’m Lilith Wong. Welcome to my blog where I share authentic Chinese food and drink recipes.

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Lilith Wong

Lilith Wong is a blog writer, food lover, and the founder of Exotic Food China.

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