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28 Greens and Their Translation in Mandarin Chinese language (+ Recipe Concepts!)



From bok choy to bamboo shoots, greens are a staple of Chinese language delicacies.

Chive dumplings, water spinach stir fry, egg fried rice: are you hungry but?

Whether or not you’d wish to browse a Chinese language market or perceive a Chinese language menu, look no additional – this text is for you!

On this transient and scrumptious introduction to Chinese language greens, I’ll provide the names of the most typical greens in Mandarin and let you know slightly about their utilization in Chinese language delicacies.

Alright, let’s get began – 開始吧 (kāi shǐ bā)!

Chinese language Greens: A Couple of Heads Up

On this article, you will note that many greens have multiple identify. Identical to English has each eggplant and aubergine, Chinese language typically has many names for a single vegetable.
These variations are sometimes as a consequence of regional speech patterns.

However there’s no must concern – with any of the phrases beneath, you may nonetheless get your concept throughout. And with slightly little bit of observe, you may study to affiliate sure phrases with sure locations!

I’ll write each simplified and conventional characters the place related. But when the simplified and conventional characters are the identical, I’ll simply write it as soon as!

“Corn” – 玉米 (yù mǐ)

Corn is a vegetable you’ll find in many alternative dishes within the Chinese language-speaking world. It could actually flip up in sizzling pot, in a bowl as its personal dish, and even fried on a stick from a road vendor.

However in case you’d wish to attempt 烤玉米 (kǎo yù mǐ), or the fried, Chinese language model of corn on the cob, be sure to ask the way it’s bought. In some elements of China, it’s cooked kernel by kernel, whereas in others, it’s cooked entire.

This complicated state of affairs can result in getting way more or a lot much less corn than what you anticipated! Try this text to learn a bit extra about it.

“Tomato” – 西红柿/西紅柿 (xī hóng shì) or 番茄 (fān qié)

(Simplified and conventional characters listed below are the identical.)

The tomato is, traditionally talking, a current addition to Chinese language delicacies. It arrived in China someday through the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), however it’s used continuously in the present day.

One well-liked, if easy, dish is 番茄炒蛋 (fān qié chǎo dàn), tomato with scrambled eggs. The image beneath exhibits a aspect of tomato and eggs I had for lunch at a scholar cafeteria in China:

Each Chinese language phrases for tomato point out its origins: 西红柿 taken aside means “Western purple persimmon”. The primary character of 番茄 means “overseas, not Chinese language,” whereas 茄 is the primary character of “eggplant.”

Regardless of which phrase you employ, you might be certain it’ll be scrumptious! And in case you’d wish to observe your Chinese language studying expertise, attempt studying this text in regards to the arrival of tomatoes in China.

“Candy potato” – 地瓜 (dì guā), 番薯 (fān shǔ)

If sooner or later you end up at a Taiwanese evening market, make sure to attempt some 地瓜球 (dìguā qiú): it’s a scrumptious native specialty! Even in case you aren’t an enormous fan of candy potatoes, you would possibly nonetheless find it irresistible for its mild, fluffy texture.

“Potato” – 马铃薯/馬鈴薯 (mǎ líng shǔ) or 土豆 (tǔ dòu)

Who doesn’t take pleasure in a potato, in any of its types? Whether or not you’re having fun with some French fries (薯条/薯條, shǔ tiáo) or chips (洋芋片, yáng yù piàn), you understand it’ll be nice.

When it comes to the distinction between 马铃薯 and 土豆, 马铃薯 is extra frequent in Taiwan, whereas the latter is most popular on the Chinese language mainland.

French fries even include their very own particular variation in China: right here you may see French fries with a Sichuan sizzling pepper on prime. 好吃 (hǎochī), scrumptious!

“Cabbage” – 卷心菜 (juàn xīn cài),高麗菜 (gāo lì cài)

Cabbage, mostly referred to as 卷心菜 in China and 高麗菜 in Taiwan, is to be present in market stalls everywhere in the Chinese language-speaking world.

“Bean sprouts” – 豆芽 (dòu yá)

Bean sprouts might be boiled and served by alone, or sprinkled on prime of one other dish.

“Soy” – 大豆 (dà dòu)

Soy seems as part of 豆浆/豆漿 (dòujiāng), or soy milk, an important a part of a Chinese language breakfast, and likewise a part of the beloved 豆腐 (dòufǔ), tofu.

Tofu, with its excessive protein content material, is a good way to replenish with out consuming meat.

“Eggplant” – 茄子 (qié zǐ)

Eggplant is a standard vegetable in Chinese language delicacies. A well-known dish is 魚香茄子 (yúxiāng qié zǐ), “aromatic fish eggplant”, a specialty within the Sichuan area.

Eggplant might not be finest for people who find themselves specific about 口感 (kǒugǎn), texture: it’s a bit intimidating for many who don’t like issues too chewy.

“Peanut” – 花生 (huāshēng)

I used to be hesitant to incorporate this one on the listing – however after some critical Google analysis, I’ve decided that peanut is, the truth is, a vegetable. Who knew!

Peanuts are additionally fairly current in Chinese language delicacies. You’ll find them sprinkled on prime of 酸辣粉 (suānlàfěn), a sour-spicy sort of noodle dish.

In addition they generally come sprinkled on prime of 豆花 (dòu huā), a tofu-centered dessert. 豆花 is a scrumptious deal with on a sizzling day: or, in case you’re like me, at any time of the 12 months!

“Papaya” – 冬瓜 (mùguā)

木瓜 is commonly made into drinks. It may be a part of a milk drink, or additionally a smoothie. It’s a singular style for these unaccustomed, nevertheless it’s actually nice, and much more so on a sizzling day.

“Bok choy” – 小白菜 (xiǎo báicài)

The phrase bok choy in English as we all know it comes from the Cantonese baak6 coi3, however in Mandarin, it’s referred to as 小白菜(xiǎo báicài).

If you’re searching for a easy introduction to the Chinese language dialects, try this text and study in regards to the variations between Cantonese, Mandarin, and extra.

“Chive” – 韭菜 (jiǔcài)

Chives are sometimes present in dumplings, both as one ingredient or typically as the first ingredient. Vegetarian-friendly dumplings typically embrace both chives or cabbage – for me personally, I favor chives!

“White radish” – 白萝卜/白蘿蔔 (báiluóbo)

White radish, also called Daikon from its Japanese identify, is most well-known for being the principle ingredient of turnip cake. Turnip cake, or radish cake, is a staple of dim sum, a sort of delicacies well-liked within the Cantonese-speaking areas of Hong Kong and Southern China.

The subsequent time you go to a dim sum place, make sure to attempt a scrumptious turnip cake, or 白萝卜糕 (báiluóbo gāo) in Chinese language: it received’t disappoint!

“Asparagus” – 芦笋/蘆筍 (lúsǔn)

Asparagus is commonly sauteed to be eaten alone or with meat.

Moreover, asparagus juice is usually present in comfort shops in China. I haven’t tried it but – would you attempt it?

“Inexperienced bean” – 豆角 (dòujiǎo)

Inexperienced beans, similar to asparagus, are sometimes sauteed and are typically accompanied by bits of meat. Each of them are, in their very own approach, fairly scrumptious.

“Carrot” – 胡萝卜/胡蘿蔔 (hú luóbo)

Carrot shares its final two characters, 萝卜, with white radish.

“Broccoli” – 西兰花/西蘭花 (xī lán hua) or 花椰菜 (huā yé cài)

Broccoli is thought primarily by two names within the Chinese language-speaking world. Its regional distinction can be a cross-strait distinction: 西兰花 is extra frequent in Mainland China, whereas 花椰菜 is extra frequent in Taiwan.

“Brussels sprouts” – 小洋白菜 (xiǎo yáng bái cài)

Brussels sprouts aren’t usually well-known in China. For that reason, their identify consists of the character 洋 (yáng), which carries its label as a Western meals.

“Cilantro/coriander” – 香菜 (xiāngcài)

香菜 is a standard seasoning added on prime of many dishes, together with the Taiwanese 刈包 (guàbāo). 刈包 is commonly in comparison with a hamburger, a steamed bun topped with pork, peanut powder, pickled greens and, in fact, cilantro.

“Basil” – 罗勒/羅勒 (luōlè) or 九层塔/九層塔 (jiǔ céng tǎ)

“九層塔” actually means “9-layer tower,” which more than likely refers back to the look of basil because it grows. Basil has a historical past of not less than 900 years in China, and in the present day it’s grown in lots of elements of the nation, in addition to in Taiwan.

“Winter melon” – 冬瓜 (dōngguā)

Winter melon is a inexperienced gourd that usually seems in Chinese language stir fry. It appears to be like much like cucumber when lower. It will also be part of a soup.

“Black beans” – 黑豆 (hēidòu)

Black beans are a bit unique in Chinese language delicacies. They’re most usually present in overseas meals.

“Cauliflower” – 花椰菜 (huā yé cài) or 菜花 (cài huā)

For some Chinese language audio system, cauliflower and broccoli are the identical phrase; to differentiate, they could use 白花椰菜 (bái huā yé cài) to consult with cauliflower particularly.

Within the image beneath, you may see a bento field (便当/便當, biàndāng) made up of a number of Chinese language greens, together with cauliflower and asparagus.

“Onion” – 洋葱/洋蔥 (yáng cōng)

The phrase onion is shaped by the 2 characters 洋, which means “Western”, and 葱/蔥.

Onions, curiously sufficient, are thought-about a non-vegetarian merchandise in each Buddhism and Taoism.

In keeping with probably the most conventional and stringent variations of Buddhism/Taoism, onion, garlic, chives, scallion, and shallots are all thought-about in opposition to their vegetarian eating regimen. It’s mentioned that their robust taste is unbeneficial to non secular observe.

“Chili pepper” – 辣椒 (là jiāo)

The phrase 辣椒 can refer to 2 various things: it will possibly imply a spicy bell pepper, nevertheless it additionally denotes a particular sort of spicy sauce.

The spicy sauce variant of 辣椒 might be present in loads of eating places across the Chinese language-speaking world in slightly plastic cup with a miniature spoon.

Though it may be considerably salty, it’s additionally a scrumptious addition to a bowl of noodles, a sauteed vegetable, or perhaps something.

Typically, individuals simply name it 辣椒, however to differentiate it from the recent pepper, you may name it 辣椒醬 (là jiāo jiàng), or “chili pepper sauce.”

“Ginger” – 姜 (jiāng)

Ginger is a key spice in lots of Chinese language dishes and essential in any Chinese language kitchen!

“Mushrooms” – 蘑菇 (mó gu)

The general time period for mushrooms is 蘑菇. Nonetheless, similar to we now have several types of mushrooms in English, Mandarin additionally distinguishes between many alternative sorts of mushrooms.

金針菇 (jìnzhēn gǔ), or Enoki mushroom, is a protracted, stringy mushroom.

秀珍菇 (xiūzhēn gǔ), English oyster mushroom, is a thicker, extra stubby sort of mushroom.

“Cucumber” – 黃瓜 (huángguā)

One among my private favorites, cucumber is most frequently (and most deliciously) lower up and blended with salt, vinegar, pepper, and different components to make a tangy, barely spicy combine. That is referred to as 涼拌小黃瓜 (liáng bàn xiǎo huáng guā).

You’re All Set to Prepare dinner Scrumptious Vegetable-Based mostly Recipes in Chinese language

I hope you loved this transient and scrumptious introduction to Chinese language greens. If all this speak of dumplings and stir fry has made you hungry for extra Chinese language, try this text on ordering meals in Mandarin!

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Matt Anderson

Instructor, Freelance Author

Matthew has a level in overseas languages and English. He writes freelance content material along with novels and quick tales. You’ll find his debut novel, Love in Doom and Secession, right here

Speaks: English, Spanish, Chinese language, German, Portuguese, Catalan, Japanese

View all posts by Matt Anderson

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