Chow-chow (chowchow, chow chow) is a Nova Scotian and American pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables. Mainly green tomato, cabbage, chayote, red tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas are used. These ingredients are pickled in a canning jar and served cold.
Chow-chow is regionally associated with the Southern United States, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, the Appalachian Mountains, and soul food. The recipes vary greatly; some varieties are sweeter than others. Pennsylvania chow-chow, known by the Wos-Wit brand, is generally much sweeter than the southern varieties.
Chow-chow found its way to the Southern United States during the expulsion of the Acadian people from Nova Scotia and their settlement in Louisiana. It is eaten by itself or as a condiment on fish cakes, mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy, pinto beans, hot dogs, hamburgers and other foods.
The term "chow-chow" is reportedly based on the French word chou for cabbage. Food historian Luis W. Fernandez claims a connection with Chinese cuisine as an origin. A further possible source of the name is the ingredient chayote, which is itself known as chow chow in India. The name is sometimes used interchangeably with piccalilli.
It can be an ingredient for Russian dressing.