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 inches) long and 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) in diameter. One of the most unlikely shaped daikon is Sakurajima daikon from Kagoshima Prefecture that is shaped like an oversized turnip with white outside and bright pink inside.
The flavor is generally rather mild compared to other small radishes.
Daikon was traditionally pickled in autumn to preserve vegetables for the winter. One of the most popular varieties of pickled daikon, called takuan (沢庵) in Japanese and danmuji (단무지) in Korean, is usually bright yellow in colour and is sometimes used in sushi. It is claimed, but not historically supported, that a Buddhist monk called Takuan Sōhō first made this pickle.
Shredded and dried daikon is called kiriboshi daikon (切干大根), literally cut-and-dried daikon.
Fresh leaves of daikon can also be eaten as a leaf vegetable but they are often removed when sold in a store because they do not adjust well to the refrigerator, yellowing quite easily. Daikon sprouts, known as kaiware, are a popular garnish for salads and sushi.
Daikon is likewise a very important ingredient in Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Indian cuisines. In China, it is used in a variety of dishes such as poon choi and dim sum. One dim sum, called lobag gow (蘿蔔糕), which can be cooked either by frying or steaming, is traditionally served at the Chinese New Year. Daikon is often cooked with meat and shiitake mushrooms in China, as a simple family dish. Daikon is often added to fishball curry, along with pig skin.
In Korea, where it is called mu (무), it is often pickled, and used in a variety of kimchi called kkakdugi (깍두기). Pickled daikon (monla gyin) is also popular in Burma on its own or made into a salad. Daikon (monla u) may be simply boiled and dipped in a curried salty fish sauce or made into a sour soup with fish head (nga gaung chinyei).
In India, North & South Indian foods have a wide range of usage of Daikon, it is known as mooli in Punjabi food preparations, such as mooli parathas. recipe Mooli is also one of the most popular ingredients of Punjabi salads. Mooli raita is also a very popular salad containing mooli,
South Indian dish Sambar when cooked with moollangi gives an excellent aroma, 80% of moolangi grown in south india is consumed for sambar preoperation, moolangi & tomato curry is a popular curry.
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.