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Gai lan
Gai lan
SpeciesBrassica oleracea
Cultivar groupAlboglabra Group
Gai lan
"Gai lan" in Traditional (top) and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese芥蘭
Simplified Chinese芥兰
Hanyu Pinyinjièlán
Jyutpinggaai3 laan4*2
Literal meaningmustard orchid
Burmese name
Vietnamese name
Vietnamesecải làn or cải rổ
Thai name
Thaiคะน้า [kʰā.náː]
Khmer name

Gai lan, kai-lan, Chinese broccoli,[1] or Chinese kale (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra)[2] is a leafy vegetable with thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems, and florets similar to (but much smaller than) broccoli. A Brassica oleracea cultivar, gai lan is in the group alboglabra (from Latin albus "white" and glabrus "hairless"). When gone to flower, its white blossoms resemble that of its cousin Matthiola incana or hoary stock. The flavor is very similar to that of broccoli, but noticeably stronger and slightly more bitter.[3]

Gai lan plant growing in a vegetable garden


Gai lan is a cool season crop that grows best between 18 and 28 °C (64 and 82 °F). It withstands hotter summer temperatures than other brassicas such as broccoli or cabbage. Gai lan is harvested around 60–70 days after sowing, just before the flowers start to bloom. The stems can become woody and tough when the plant bolts.[4]


Broccolini is a hybrid between broccoli and gai lan.[5]



The stems and leaves of gai lan are eaten widely in Chinese cuisine; common preparations include gai lan stir-fried with ginger and garlic, and boiled or steamed and served with oyster sauce. It is also common in Vietnamese, Burmese and Thai cuisine.[3]

In Americanized Chinese food (like beef and broccoli),[6] gai lan was frequently replaced by broccoli, when gai lan was not available.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Patrick J. Cummings; Hans-Georg Wolf (2011). A Dictionary of Hong Kong English: Words from the Fragrant Harbor. Hong Kong University Press. p. 62. ISBN 9789888083305.
  2. ^ "Brassica oleracea L. var. alboglabra (L. H. Bailey) Musil". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Kai-lan – Cuisine of Myanmar (Burma)". Trek Zone. Retrieved 2023-05-10.
  4. ^ Rana, M. K.; Reddy, P. Karthik (2018). Vegetable Crop Science (1st ed.). CRC Press. pp. 289–298. ISBN 978-1138035218.
  5. ^ "Broccolini". Washington State University. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  6. ^ "History and Culture: Chinese Food | New University | UC Irvine". 2008-06-02. Retrieved 2023-05-23.
  7. ^ Hung, Melissa (2019-10-31). "When authenticity means a heaping plate of Tex-Mex". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-11-05.