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Difference Between Yu Choy And Choy Sum

The brassica family consists of a wide variety of vegetables including cabbages, kale, cauliflower and broccoli. 

Some of the members of these group of vegetables are popular Chinese greens such as Yu choy and choy sum. 

Their dark-green leaves and edible yellow flowers are used in a variety of dishes in Asian cuisine. 

There are a lot of similarities between these two greens, and it is not surprising to find the same vegetable labelled as both Yu choy and choy sum as their names are often used interchangeably even though they are quite different  

In this post, however, we highlight the differences between both vegetables. 

Yu choy Vs Choy sum

While both terms refer to the same vegetable, there are slight differences between both of them. 

Although, it is often used broadly, the term “Choy sum” commonly applies to the younger variety of this plant including the white and green stalk variety. 

 “Yu choy” on the other hand refers to the more mature green stalked variety of this plant.  

When translated to English, “Yu choy” means “oil vegetable” as the seeds of this Chinese green are also be used to produce cooking oil. 

You don’t have to be bothered, as a lot of people don’t know the differences between the two names, and “choy sum” and “Yu choy” are commonly used interchangeably to refer to all forms of this vegetable. 

What is Choy sum?

choy sum

Choy sum means “vegetable heart” in English. 

It is a leafy green vegetable with yellow flowers, and it is closely related to cabbages. 

This vegetable can be found in a wide variety of dishes particularly in Asian cuisine.  

Choy sum is cultivated specifically for the tender, crunchy stems, flavorful flowers and also the oil 

When the plant is young, the stems and the leaves are harvested to be used in stir-fry dishes, soups and salads.   

Choy sum is a sweet vegetable but also has a mild bitterness and subtle peppery notes. 

As the plant ages, the stems become fibrous, and the leaves of choy sum become more bitter. 

Choy sum could have white or green stalks topped with dark green oval-shaped leaves. 

This vegetable has oval-shaped dark green leaves, small, bright yellow flowers and a slender stem.

Green choy sum produces greenish to yellow stem while white choy sum has a white stem like bok choy.  

One distinctive characteristic of this plant is its small yellow flowers.

The greens can be prepared by boiling, steaming or stir-frying. When blanched, choy sum is also dressed lightly with soy sauce or sesame oil. 


Choy sum is one of the most popular vegetables in Asian cuisine 

The leaves, stems, and flowers of Yu choy are all edible. 

These plants are cultivated for its edible leaves, stalks, and flowers which are predominately used in Asian cuisine. 

Smaller vegetables are actually better, since they will be more tender and flavorful.  

This vegetable can be steamed or stir-fried.  Yu choy can be blanched then served with a sauce. 

The flower tips are crisp and flavorful. They are also served in salads, Asian soups or stir-fried dishes 

Choy sum is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, also a good source of calcium and contains some potassium as well as iron.