Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Ethnocultural Vegetables in Canada Part II Resource Guides
Yard Long Beans

October 7, 2016  By Fruit & Vegetable

Despite the name, yard long beans are typically only half a yard long (1.5 feet). They are known by lots of other names, including bora, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, Chinese long bean, dau gok (Cantonese), jiang dou (Standard Chinese), thus fak yao (Thai), borbotti or eeril (India), bora or bodi (West Indies).

This vegetable is subtropical/tropical and most commonly grown in Southern China, Thailand, Southeastern Asia. It is also a traditional food plant in Africa.

Yard long beans are from a different genus than the common bean and are actually a variety of cowpea. It is a vigorous plant, usually requiring a climbing trellis. The plant is quick growing and pods begin to form about 60 days after planting, hang in pairs. They taste best if picked before reaching maturity. Daily harvesting is sometimes required to get the pods at their best quality.


Yard long beans are grown for the plant’s immature pods that are used in cooking similar to green beans. The pods can be eaten both raw and cooked and are typically cut into short sections and used in stir-fries within Chinese, Malaysian and West Indian cultures.

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