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Chinese Food Glossary

by Rachel Timmons

introduction  |  regions  |  recipes  |  glossary

  • Baozia steamed bun with a pork and vegetable filling
  • CaiMandarin, ‘dish,’ (type of cuisine, i.e. ‘ Shanghai cai’) or ‘vegetable’
  • Cha--tea
  • Cassia bark—a type of bark with a cinnamon-like odor, used in western Chinese cooking
  • Dou fu—(tofu) soybean curd
  • Fan-- ‘rice’ or food
  • Jiaoziboiled dumplings with meat and vegetable fillings
  • Jiu—wine
  • Litchi—(lychee), a small, round sweet fruit with a brown peel and white flesh grown in south China
  • Longan—a litchi-like fruit
  • Mantou—steamed bun
  • Ma la—‘numbing-spicy,’ used to describe a certain combination of flavors in Sichuan food
  • Mien—noodles
  • Rou—‘meat’ Jirou—chicken, Zhurou—pork
  • Sichuan peppercorn—a tiny reddish peppercorn with a flower-like appearance and a ‘numbing’ taste, used in Sichuan cooking
  • Taro root—the starchy, potato-like root of the taro plant, used in soups and stews
  • Yue bing—moon cake, small round cakes with various sweet fillings, eaten during the Moon Festival
  • Zhourice porridge

    Further Reading

    These books, written by an anthropologist and a chef respectively, are excellent sources of information on China’s cuisine and culinary history.

    Anderson, E.N. The Food of China. Yale University Press, 1988.

    Lo, Eileen Yin-Fei. The Chinese Kitchen. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1999.

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