What's The Difference: Baguio Beans Vs. Sitaw

The sitaw is not a string bean.

IMAGE Shutterstock
ILLUSTRATOR Roselle Miranda

Do you call sitaw "string beans"? If you do, you're actually talking about another kind of green bean altogether. 

The green beans we know as sitaw or long beans are not string beans. Baguio beans however are a kind of string bean. Here's what you should know about what makes these two kinds of green beans different: 

1 Baguio beans have a string and snap. Sitaw have no strings. 

If you have ever snapped the ends off of Baguio beans to remove the ends, you will usually encounter a string attached to it. Pull this and you'll remove the entire string on the side of the bean. This is best removed since this is fibrous and can get stuck to your teeth if not removed. This is common in most green beans although there are kinds where the strings, as well as the satisfying snap, have been cultivated out of the beans. 


Sitaw meanwhile does not have strings to remove prior to cooking. Either of these edible pods can be used in recipes interchangeably since both are technically green beans.

Sitaw, also known as asparagus or yardlong beans in other parts of the world, tied with a string.
Photo by Shutterstock
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2 Baguio beans are immature beans. Sitaw are best harvested while still tender. 

The Baguio beans we known is the common green bean. These are also known as string beans and snap beans. The imported haricot verts or French green beans is just another kind of green bean that is thinner than the Baguio bean we know and love. Basically, all green beans are immature pods where the beans are not yet fully grown to be harvested. This is one of the reasons why green beans are called common: these are the same beans where beans are harvested if left to mature until the beans are big enough.


Sitaw or yardlong beans are a staple in our local cuisine. These are also known as asparagus beans, snake bean, and Chinese long bean among other names. It's a lowland vegetable crop, which includes ampalaya, kalabasa, upo, talong, okra, corn, and kamote. The sitaw can literally grow as long as a yard. These are best harvested however when still firm and not too long. The more mature the sitaw, the tougher the green beans become, so it's best to get long beans that are not too long. 

Harvested Baguio beans. Named after the city where they are usually grown.
Photo by Shutterstock

3 Baguio beans grow in either bushes or vines. Sitaw grows on vines.  

The Baguio bean is grown on either bushes or vines. Since Baguio beans are strings beans that are harvested while still green, the kind of string bean that is planted is what makes these beans different. 

The sitaw is commonly grown as a vine. The plant crawls up a trellis and the beans hang down from the trellis so you can see exactly how long the sitaw have grown. 

4 Both Baguio beans and sitaw can be purple or yellow but sitaw can also be red. 

It should also be noted that there are some kinds of string beans that are not green. Baguio beans and sitaw are both green and can be considered immature when harvested but there are also Baguio beans that are of other colors. There are purple string beans and yellow string beans. The yellow variety is also known as wax beans. The big difference is really just the color of the string beans and can be interchangeable with recipes that call for your usual Baguio or green beans. 


The sitaw we know is commonly just green all around. However, some varieties are similar in coloring to the string bean, too. The sitaw comes in yellow, purple, and in particular, can also come in red. 


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