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Q: Some herbs commonly used in Asian dishes are quite confusing. What is the difference between kutsay, kinchay, wansuy, coriander, and cilantro?

A: Kutsay is garlic chives. It has a garlicky odor and flavor. It has dark green, long leaves. One variety would have buds at the tip of the leaf. Another variety would have long, flat leaves. Kinchay is Chinese celery. It would have green stems with lobed leaves. It smells and tastes like common celery, hence the name. It is commonly used in noodle dishes such as pancit bihon and for fried spring roll (lumpia) fillings.

While wansuy would look almost the same as kinchay, it would have a very unique taste profile. By pinching the leaves and smelling them, you will be able to tell the difference. Wansuy has a stronger, more pungent, yet sweeter smell. It is always eaten raw with salads, Asian dips, and fresh spring rolls. Another name for wansuy is cilantro, the leafy part of the herb; while coriander is the seed part of the same plant.