Gai lan 芥蘭

Gai lan belongs to the Brassicaceae family amongst other well-known species such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip, rapeseed. The word Brassicaceae describes the arrangement of the four petals of mustard flowers resembling a cross. If you have either tasted gai lan long before pesticides and herbicides became so cheap, or you are able to grow your own, or you have access to good quality organic gai lan, you will notice a distinctive mustardy flavour together with a hint of bitterness from both the leaves and the stems. That is evidence that gai lan belongs to the Brassicaceae family. The gai lan bought from the market these days may not be so flavourful anymore. All there is to the vegetable is the crunch, the fiber, and a kind of chemical taste.

她是芥蘭,甘藍菜的近親,聽說阿蘭的生長適應能力很強,天氣越冷越有韻味,踏入秋季很多菜田已換上新衣裳,阿蘭身上的小黃花越放璀燦,農人忙著收割並要運送給我這種在家中等吃的隱青,說到底也不過是在家中網上購買而且默默地支持本地耕作。不要看阿蘭的外形粗獷,不認識她還以為她兇巴巴冷冰冰的,身上還有一層薄薄的白霜,我問她是不是用了爽身粉,她沒回答我,但阿蘭說男孩子很多時候都提及她,說甚麼「炒芥蘭」,就是在踢足球時雙方的腳都碰撞起來的意思,這次我沒有答嘴,我又不踢球。阿蘭看見我在家中種著苦瓜和蕃茄,她問我會不會種菜田,我說不會,因為沒錢買田買地,然後她就詩人上身地說:「芥藍如菌蕈,脆美牙頰響」這是來自蘇東坡的《雨後行菜圃》,她說我也可以有自己的菜圃,下雨後都可以寫詩,我就回答:「等我先發達後寫詩,炒菜芥蘭放薑絲。」