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Kaempferia galanga
Lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum)
Galangal rhizome ready to be prepared for cooking

Galangal (/ˈɡæləŋˌɡæl/[1]) is a common name for several tropical rhizomatous spices.


The word galangal, or its variant galanga or archaically galingale, can refer in common usage to the aromatic rhizome of any of four plant species in the Zingiberaceae (ginger) family, namely:

The term galingale is sometimes also used for the rhizome of the unrelated sweet cyperus (Cyperus longus), traditionally used as a folk medicine in Europe.



Various galangal rhizomes are used in traditional Southeast Asian cuisine, such as Khmer kroeung (Cambodian paste), Thai and Lao tom yum and tom kha gai soups, Vietnamese Huế cuisine (tré) and throughout Indonesian cuisine, as in soto and opor. Polish Żołądkowa Gorzka vodka is flavoured with galangal. While all varieties of galangal are closely related to common ginger, each is unique in its own right. Due to their unique taste profiles, galangals are not typically regarded as synonymous with ginger or each other in traditional Asian dishes. It was popular in medieval Europe, where it was generally known as "galingale"[clarification needed][citation needed].

In commerce, galangals are commonly available in Asian markets as whole fresh rhizome, or in dried and sliced, or powdered form.


In ethnobotany, galangal has been reported to be used for its purported merits in promoting digestion and alleviating respiratory diseases and stomach problems. Each galangal variety has been attributed specific medical virtues.[2][3]


  1. ^ "galangal". Oxford English Dictionary (Third ed.). Oxford University Press. November 2010. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  2. ^ "What is Galangal? Your Guide to the Spice of Life". Healthy Hildegard. February 16, 2016.
  3. ^ "Keittosanasto: Keittotaito – ruoanvalmistuksen opas". (in Finnish).