Glossary - Ingredients

Goya/Bitter melon


In season during the summer months of July and August


Produced in tropical areas of Asia, bitter melon is largely grown in southern China, Southeast Asia and Taiwan. As described in its name, this fruit (commonly treated as a vegetable) has a bitter outer skin. In Japanese the bitter melon has been called “nigauri” in most parts of Japan, but “goya” in Okinawa, and recently its name as “goya” has caught on throughout Japan. This fruit is abundant in vitamin C, has a high mineral content and promotes perspiration, so it is said to be a good stamina building food for summertime.


Select bitter melon that are firm and bright green in color with pointed spiky knobs. After rinsing, wrap in paper towel or newspaper, place into a vegetable storage container and store in a refrigerator.

Cooking tips

Thinly slice up and use in stir-fry, vinegared and deep-fried dishes. The characteristic bitterness can be toned down by sprinkling on salt, leaving for 5 minutes, and then squeezing out excess moisture.

Cooking Basics

Bitter melon - removing seeds and cotton

Cut the bitter melon in half lengthwise and then scrape out the seeds and cotton with a spoon.

Bitter melon - soaking in salt

Thinly slice up the bitter melon and then place into an approximately 5% salt/water solution. Gently stir and then set aside for about 10 minutes. This method is preferred to massaging salt into sliced bitter melon since the crunchiness will be preserved and a delicate salty taste will be added. Pat dry before using.

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