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A pile of daikon radishes.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Brassicales
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Raphanus
Species: R. sativus
Variety: R. sativus var. longipinnatus[1]
Trinomial name
Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus

Daikon, or white radish (Raphanus sativus var. longipinnatus, also known by other names) is a mild-flavoured, very large, white East Asian radish with a wide variety of culinary uses. Despite often being associated with Japan, it was originally cultivated in continental Asia.[2]



White radishes are known by several names in English,[3][4] most commonly daikon.[5] Other names include mooli, Oriental radish,[6][7] Japanese radish, Chinese radish, Korean radish, and lo bok. In many cases, several terms will coexist in the same locale, referring to different white radish varieties.

The English name "daikon" derives from the Japanese daikon (大根), literally "large root" (usually rendered in Katakana as ダイコン) and is the most common name for the vegetable in North America. However, the greener, rounder Korean varieties are rarely called daikon and are instead usually referred to as "Korean radish". Likewise, Chinese varieties are sometimes called "lo-bok" or "lo-bak" derived from the Cantonese lòhbaahk (蘿蔔).

In the United Kingdom with its stronger South Asian influence, the name "mooli",[8] from Hindi mūlī (मूली), is used in addition to daikon.[9]

The name "chai tow" or "chai tau", from Hokkien chhài-thâu (菜頭), is sometimes used in Singaporean and Malaysian English for the vegetable. Sometimes the Hokkien-derived term is back-translated as "carrot" because the word chai tow can also refer to a carrot (POJ: âng-chhài-thâu; literally "red radish"). This misnomer gave the title to a popular guidebook on Singapore's street food, There's No Carrot in Carrot Cake, which refers to chai tow kway, a savoury cake made of white radish.[10]

Other languages[edit]

A Chinese radish, looking upwards from the base of the plant

As in English, terms in other languages often refer to different white radish varieties and in many cases are simply a generic term for "radish".

White radish is called mūlī in Hindi (मूली) and Urdu (مولی), mu (무) in Korean, labanos in Tagalog, daigo in Chamorro, lobak or lobak daikon in Malay and Indonesian, retikka in Finnish, and củ cải trắng in Vietnamese.[11]

In Chinese languages, the vegetable is known as bái luóbó (白蘿蔔, lit. "white radish") in Mandarin Chinese, lòhbaahk (蘿蔔) in Cantonese, and chhài-thâu (菜頭, lit. "vegetable head") in Hokkien/Taiwanese.


Sakurajima daikon

Although there are many varieties of daikon, the most common in Japan, the aokubi-daikon, has the shape of a giant carrot, approximately 20 to 35 cm (8 to 14 in) long and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 in) in diameter. One of the most unusually shaped varieties of daikon cultivated in Kagoshima Prefecture is the turnip-shaped sakurajima daikon, which often grows as large as 50 cm (20 in) in diameter and weighs as much as 45 kg (100 lb).[12] The flavour is generally rather mild compared to smaller radishes.

Korean varieties are larger and rounder than the typical long, thin Japanese types[13] and are often spicier.


The variety "Long White Icicle" is available as seed in Britain, and will grow very successfully in Southern England, producing roots resembling a parsnip by midsummer in good garden soil in an average year.[citation needed]

The Chinese radish or mooli tolerates higher temperatures than Japanese daikon, it grows well at lower elevations in East Africa. It is best if there is plenty of moisture and it can grow fast, otherwise it tastes too strong and its flesh is tough.[14]

The roots can be stored for some weeks without the leaves if lifted and kept in a cool dry place. If left in the ground, the texture tends to become woody, but the storage life of untreated whole roots is not long.[clarification needed]

Culinary use[edit]

Korean-style kkakdugi kimchi

In Japanese cuisine, many types of pickles are made with daikon, including takuan and bettarazuke. Daikon is also frequently used grated and mixed into ponzu, a soy sauce and citrus juice condiment. Simmered dishes are also popular such as oden. Daikon that has been shredded and dried (a common method of preserving food in Japan) is called kiriboshi-daikon (literally, "cut-dried daikon"). Daikon radish sprouts (kaiware-daikon) are used for salad or garnishing sashimi. Daikon leaf is frequently eaten as a green vegetable. Pickling and stir frying are common. The daikon leaf is part of the Festival of Seven Herbs, called suzushiro.

In Chinese cuisine, turnip cake and chai tow kway are made with daikon. The variety called mooli has a high water content, and some cookbooks recommend salting and draining it before it is cooked. Sometimes mooli is used to carve elaborate garnishes.[15]

In Korean cuisine, a variety is used to make kkakdugi, nabak kimchi and muguk soup. The younger version of the radish is used with the leaves in chonggak kimchi. This variety of daikon is shorter, stouter, and has a pale green colour extending from the top, to approximately halfway down the tuber. The flesh is denser than the Japanese variety and the leaves are smooth in texture which makes them better for pickling. The leaves of a mature plant are often too tough to be eaten raw, and so are shade dried to be used in soups, or boiled and seasoned into potherbs.

Stir-fried chai tow kway

In Philippine cuisine, a soupy dish called sinigang is optionally cooked with daikon, known locally as labanos, after rábano, radish in Spanish.[citation needed]

In Pakistani cuisine, the young leaves of the daikon plant are boiled and flash fried with a mixture of heated oil, garlic, ginger, red chili and a variety of spices. The radish is eaten as a fresh salad often seasoned with either salt and pepper or chaat masala.

In Bangladesh, fresh daikon is often finely grated and mixed with fresh chilli, coriander, flaked steamed fish, lime juice and salt. This light, refreshing preparation is served alongside meals and is known as mulo bhorta.

In North India, daikon is popular to make paranthas, salad and garnish.

In South India, daikon is the principal ingredient in a variety of sambar, in which roundels of the radish are boiled with onions, tamarind pulp, lentils and a special spice powder.[16] When cooked, it can release a very strong odor. This soup, called mullangi sambar (Tamil: முள்ளங்கி சாம்பார்; literally, "daikon sambar") is very popular and mixed with cooked rice to make a good meal.

In Vietnamese cuisine, sweet and sour pickled daikon and carrots (củ cải cà rốt chua) are a common condiment in bánh mì sandwiches.[17]

Radishes, Oriental, raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 76 kJ (18 kcal)
Carbohydrates 4.1 g
- Sugars 2.5
- Dietary fiber 1.6 g
Fat 0.1 g
Protein 0.6 g
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.02 mg (2%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.02 mg (2%)
Niacin (vit. B3) 0.2 mg (1%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.138 mg (3%)
Vitamin B6 0.046 mg (4%)
Folate (vit. B9) 28 μg (7%)
Vitamin C 22 mg (27%)
Calcium 27 mg (3%)
Iron 0.4 mg (3%)
Magnesium 16 mg (5%)
Manganese 0.038 mg (2%)
Phosphorus 23 mg (3%)
Potassium 227 mg (5%)
Sodium 21 mg (1%)
Zinc 0.15 mg (2%)
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are roughly approximated
using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Nutritional information[edit]

Daikon is very low in food energy. A 100-gram serving contains only 76 kilojoules or 18 Calories (5 Cal/oz), but provides 27 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. Daikon also contains the active enzyme myrosinase.


  1. ^ Mish, Frederick C., Editor in Chief. “Daikon.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary. 9th ed. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster Inc., 1985. ISBN 0-87779-508-8, ISBN 0-87779-509-6 (indexed), and ISBN 0-87779-510-X (deluxe).
  2. ^ Larkcom, Joy; Douglass, Elizabeth (1994). Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook. Oxford University Press US. p. 114. ISBN 1-56836-017-7.  Larkom and Douglass refer to "Oriental radishes" and divide them into two types: "white mooli types" and "coloured types".
  3. ^ "Raphanus sativus L. (Longipinnatus Group)". MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE. 
  4. ^ Davidson, Alan (2003). Seafood of South-East Asia: a comprehensive guide with recipes. Ten Speed Press. p. 211. ISBN 1-58008-452-4. 
  5. ^ Sarah Volpe. "Is it Daikon or Mooli?" Spicy Buddha.com. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  6. ^ Larkcom, Joy; Douglass, Elizabeth (1994). Oriental Vegetables: The Complete Guide for the Gardening Cook. Oxford University Press US. pp. 114–115. ISBN 1-56836-017-7.  Larkom and Douglass refer to "Oriental radishes" and divide them into two types: "white mooli types" and "coloured types".
  7. ^ Robert Bailey Thomas. The Old Farmer's Almanac. p. 28.
  8. ^ Food recipes: Spitalfields revueltos with mooli salad. BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  9. ^ Food ingredients: Daikon recipes. BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 30 March 2013.
  10. ^ Ruth Wan; Roger Hiew (2010). There's No Carrot in Carrot Cake: 101 Hawker Dishes Singaporeans Love. Epigram Books. ISBN 978-981-08-2865-3. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  11. ^ Charmaine Solomon, Encyclopedia of Asian Food, Periplus 1998.
  12. ^ The New official guide: Japan. Japan National Tourist Organization. 1975. p. 837. ISSN 0077-8591. 
  13. ^ Copeland Marks. The Korean of the Morning: Classic Recipes from the Land of the Morning Calm. Chronicle Books, 1999. p. 10. ISBN 9780811822336
  14. ^ Grubben, G.J.H. (2004). Vegetables. PROTA. ISBN 978-90-5782-147-9. 
  15. ^ Doeser, Linda (2010). The Ultimate Chinese Cookbook. Hermes House. p. 9. ISBN 1843093421. 
  16. ^ Sanjeev Kapoor
  17. ^ Pickled Shredded Daikon and Carrots Củ cải cà rốt chua

External links[edit]