It looks somewhat like Broccoli, but its leaves are broader, the stems are longer, and the floret heads are smaller. It has dull grey green waxy leaves. It also has a flavour similar to Broccoli, but it is sweeter and more tender than Broccoli.
It is harvested when the stalks are about 8 inches tall (20 cm), just before the white flowers open. If left unharvested, it will grow up to 18 inches (34 cm) tall.
Gai Lan takes between 50 and 70 days to be ready to harvest from seed, depending on where it is planted. After you cut the flower stalks off, more will grow. You can get about 3 harvests in one season.
The flower stalks are eaten, along with its youngest leaves. It is sold in bunches.
The skin on the stems is somewhat tough. It is best peeled then chopped.
You can use the small, young leaves, but discard the large leaves on the outside.