Su Su Xào – Chayote Stir-Fry

Trái Su Su (aka Chayote) is one of those vegetables that remind me what a small world this is. I grew up eating this and figured it was an Asian vegetable but later found that it is actually native to Latin America, where it is a predominant vegetable in many parts, particularly Mexico and Costa Rica. I remember my mom making this dish for the Latino men who worked for my Dad. They happily ate it and thought it was so curious that this little Asian lady knew how to cook their chayote.

Interestingly, it is called chou-chou on the French Island of Reúnion*, which makes me wonder if that has anything to do with why it’s called Su Su in Viet Nam, a former French colony. If you grow them, you know how adorable they look, like jade green pears that hang from a vine.

Su Su’s mild flavor makes it easy to combine with other savory ingredients like pork, chicken or shiitake mushrooms. In this stir-fry, its delicate and somewhat bland taste is a nice balance to the brininess of the dried shrimp. Once grated or cut, it’s incredibly quick to cook. I hope you enjoy it con mucho gusto.

Su Su Xào


INGREDIENTS: (4-6 servings, as part of a meal)

  • 1/2 cup dried shrimp
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 medium-sized Su Su (approx. 3/4 lb), cut into thin matchsticks
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • oil


  • Reconstitute the dried shrimp by placing them in a small bowl and barely cover with water. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  • Cut the su su in half and discard the pit. Prepare using a knife or mandoline. (No need to peel).
  • Mince the garlic.
  • Drain the dried shrimp.
  • Add about 1 Tbl. of oil to a med-hot pan and toss in the garlic along with the shrimp. Cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add the su su and fish sauce. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, constantly stirring. The su su should be cooked but still have a little crunch to them.
  • Check seasoning and add more fish sauce if needed.

¡Buen Provecho!


11 Responses to “Su Su Xào – Chayote Stir-Fry”

  1. Anh Says:

    This dish is so popular in Vietnam! A everyday dish indeed!

  2. Pierre Says:

    Thank you for expanding our vegetable vocabulary in such a delicious way!
    The photos are almost as tasty as your dishes…

  3. Rasa Malaysia Says:

    I just found your blog through Tastespotting. It’s awesome. I love it. 🙂

  4. Papin Says:

    Love the photographs and I will try the recipes.

    In Brazil the chayote is called chuchu were it is also very popular. The plant is native of Central America and southern Mexico. The name chayote originates from the local language Nahuatl (Aztec language). From that region it spread to the Caribbean. How the name shifted there to chocho is not very clear. I have seen a dictionary of Caribbean english explain the etymology as a vulgarism for male testicles.

  5. manggy Says:

    How wonderful! Here in the Philippines I’ve only ever seen sayote cut into chunks, but here it kind of looks like noodles!

  6. holybasil Says:

    Chào Anh –
    Isn’t it great how popular it is in so many parts of the world!
    Pierre –
    Hi Rasa Malaysia –
    Thank you for your kind words. I saw your blog too. Martha Stewart needs to hire you! I’m excited to learn more about Malay food now.
    Hi Papin-
    Thanks for your lovely comments. Though, honestly, I never thought I’d see the words “male testicles” on my blog, but great, now it’s on here twice. Thanks for a WHOLE lotta info on chayote!
    Hi Manggy-
    Thanks! I actually like it in chunks and slices too. Maybe if I peeled the green skin, I could fool an unsuspecting husband to think that it IS noodles? 🙂

  7. jeremy Says:

    I have never heard of this but it looks very tasty. Hope I can find some here in the states.

  8. macau_ray Says:

    this sounds wonderful, and so quick and easy. my mom is from guatemala, where this veggie has three different names, depending on the colour (güisquil/ perulero/ pataste). now i live in macau, where its cantonese name means “buddha’s hand squash”. must be such a globally adored veggie to inspire so many cool names! congrats on the wonderful blog.

  9. Laurie Senese Says:

    Thanks to this post I do not seem like an idiot. I had an argument with someone and this shows I was right. Thanks!

  10. Annette le Roux Says:

    I am growing them , the vines are still young, and they dont look very happy. any suggestions? Annette.

  11. Susie van de Griendt Says:

    Thank you for the information. I was given 2 susu vegetables and one of them has started to grow, so I will plant them on a trellis amng other climbers like cucumbers and squash in our vertical garden in South Africa. The climate along the Garden Route is similar to the area of its origin. Susie

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