Bok Choy vs. Choy Sum vs. Yu Choy vs. Gai Lan vs. Gai Choy – Looking into Asian Greens

Going through the Asian grocery store is amazing. The reason for that is that you will have a wide range of choices to enjoy. So, when you have been a bit used to chard, kale, and the rest, then you should try going for some Asian greens.

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If you do not have much experience with Asian greens, you might be overwhelmed by the wide range of choices there. One of the reasons for this is that most of them have multiple names.

This post is a detailed guide to some of the most popular and preferred types of Asian greens. Let’s take a look at these varieties.

Bok Choy

Bok Choy

We chose to start with this one because it is one of the most popular. This can be described as a variety of Chinese cabbage. However, it has a difference in that it does not form heads. Instead, it has bulbs at the bottom, coupled with some leafy greens.

The flavor of Bok Choy can be described as a balance of water chestnuts and spinach. It also features a peppery and sweet undertone.

Normally, this veggie is stir-fried. That gives it an amazing traditional flavor. Cook it together with some dried shrimp, mushrooms, and much more.

Choy Sum/ Yu Choy

Choy Sum or Yu Choy

These two names are used interchangeably. It is a popular green leafy vegetable in Taiwan and China. The Chinese name normally means oil vegetable. The reason for this name is the relation to rapeseed. Rapeseed is used in making canola oil.

The taste of Yu Choy is similar to baby spinach. However, the texture is crunchier. There are also chances that you will find a pepper and somewhat bitter taste.

You will get high levels of vitamin B6 and folate from this vegetable. The vegetable also features an antioxidant (beta-carotene). This antioxidant is then changed to Vitamin A after being ingested. You will also have great levels of iron, calcium, and fiber.


There are different ways to cook it.

Gai Lan

Gai Lan

Gai Lan is also known as Chinese Broccoli. It can also be known as Chinese Kalel. There is a range of names for broccoli, which includes Kai-Lan and Jie-Lan.

Regardless of the name, this is an amazing type of vegetable. It is also very popular in Chinese cuisine.

You would be happy to know that broccolini is a hybrid between this type of vegetable and broccoli.

Try out a range of vegetables to see just how well they are in a recipe.

Gai Choy

Gai Choy

Gai Choy is also known as Chinese mustard, leaf mustard, as well as Indian mustard. This is a species under the mustard plant. The truth is, there are several types of mustard greens, but we are looking at Chinese mustard for now.

This mustard grows to around 12 inches. You can easily identify it because of the stem or large bulb that has some leafy greens at the top.

As for the taste, Chinese mustard has a bitter taste, somewhat similar to pepper. So, if you enjoy the bitter taste, like the bitter melon, this might be a great choice for you.

To be honest, this is only an acquired taste. If you like its taste, you will have a wide range of recipes you can enjoy cooking it with.

A Comparison

Bok Choy vs. Choy Sum vs. Yu Choy vs. Gai Lan vs. Gai Choy

Now that we’ve seen how these four are, let’s try and compare some of the confusing ones.

Choy Sum vs. Bok Choy

First, Choy Sum is available in different sizes. You can prepare them in different ways based on their sizes. The vegetable’s outer layer is fibrous for the larger ones and smaller ones alike. To peel off that layer, we recommend using a vegetable peeler so that the colored flesh beneath is exposed.

Bok Choy, on the other hand, does not have a fibrous layer on its surface. For that reason, you do not need to peel off its surface layer. This is one of the Yu Choy vs. Bok Choy differences.

Additionally, you need to separate the leaves and the stems from the bigger varieties of Choy Sum. Start by cooking the stems since they are tough, then cook the tender leaves.

You do not need to cut small Bok Choy. The stalks are crunchy and the leaves tender. For the larger ones, you will need to cut them to half an inch for stir-frying.

Choy Sum vs. Gai Lan

One of the differences is that Choy sum features yellow flowers, while Gai Lan has white flowers. They might have some similarities, including the fact that they are both related to each other. Yu Choy (Choy Sum), however, features thinner stalks. It also features a flavor similar to mustard.

While Choy Sum has some similarities in appearance, it features some long, straight stems with a crunchier texture and light green color. It also has larger leaves that are dark green with a somewhat bitter taste.

Gai Lan vs. Gai Choy

Even though these two have names that sound somewhat similar, they are different. They are indeed both brassicaceous vegetables.

Additionally, while Gai Lan is a type of broccoli, Gai Choy is a type of mustard. Additionally, Gai Choy has a bit of a bitter taste. You might need a bit of getting used to Gai Choy.


As you can see, there is a wide variety of Asian vegetables you can enjoy. These varieties have different flavors and are enjoyed in different ways in different recipes. So, which one should you go for? Well, we recommend that you try out different types of vegetables to see the ones you would like most. We also recommend using different recipes to learn how best to prepare them.

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