Sengiri cabbage isn’t a type of cabbage, but rather a method of preparation. In English it might be referred to as shredded cabbage; in the end, all it is is thinly-sliced cabbage — essentially the Japanese equivalent of julienne or cutting into thin strips.
Sengiri cabbage is often used in salads as a side dish. However, the most famous dish with sengiri cabbage is probably okonomiyaki, also known in the West as a “Japanese pancake.” While that name isn’t wrong, you’ll be sorely disappointed if you order okonomiyaki expecting an American griddle pancake — okonomiyaki is made from a base of sengiri cabbage and other sliced vegetables combined with a light dashi batter. It’s a savory, veggie-heavy, “clean out the fridge”-style pancake that can have many different vegetables, seafood, and meats. Often it will have bacon or thin pork belly on one side.
All this to say: It’s easy to see why okonomiyaki is sengiri cabbage’s most beloved dish.
To achieve perfectly thin-sliced cabbage, you can use a knife in a pinch, but it’s often easier, quicker, and more precise to use a mandolin. (Just make sure to protect your hand from getting cut!)
If you don’t have a mandolin or suitable knife at home, we carry them in our kitchen and gifts section. And of course, Uwajimaya always has cabbage in our produce department.