kake: The word "菜單" (Chinese for "menu") in various shades of purple. (菜單)
[personal profile] kake

米 (mǐ) is the Chinese character for uncooked rice and other grain-like things.

Note that the character for cooked rice is 飯 (fàn), though this is often used on menus in combination with 米 as 米飯 (mǐ fàn). I've seen 米飯 used to denote plain steamed rice, though in comments below [identity profile] sunflower points out that really this is just another term for cooked rice, and [identity profile] sung reminds me that 白飯 (bái fàn) is the more commonly-used term for plain cooked rice in Cantonese ( means white/pure/plain).

Other words that include 米 are:

小米xiǎo mǐmillet (literally "small grain")
米粉mǐ fěnrice vermicelli
玉米yù mǐsweetcorn
粟米sù mǐanother word for sweetcorn
蝦米xiā mǐdried prawns
海米hǎi mǐanother word for dried prawns
花生米huā shēng mǐpeanuts — also simply 花生; note that [personal profile] pulchritude mentions in comments that 花生米 is specifically the kernels rather than the whole nut, and also that 花生米 also refers to "an appetizer-ish dish containing salted peanut kernels (with the red skin left on)"

And here are some dishes with 米 in the name:

小米粥xiǎo mǐ zhǒumillet congee
糯米雞nuò mǐ jīglutinous rice and chicken in lotus leaf
蟹肉粟米羹xiè ròu sù mǐ gēngcrabmeat and sweetcorn soup
海米冬瓜hǎi mǐ dōng guāwinter melon with dried prawns
梅菜蝦米粉絲煲méi cài xiā mǐ fěn sī bàopreserved vegetable, dried prawn, and bean thread noodle claypot

Note in the last of these that the 米 is attached to the preceding 蝦 to make 蝦米 (dried prawns) rather than to the following 粉 to make 米粉 (rice vermicelli). The 粉 in turn is attached to the following 絲 to make 粉絲 (bean thread noodles). I discussed the issue of working out which word a character belongs to in my post on 鹹蛋黄玉米粒 (xián dàn huáng yù mǐ fěn (sweetcorn with salted egg yolk) — essentially, there's no substitute for experience.

米: radical 119 (米) Cantodict MandarinTools YellowBridge Zhongwen

If you have any questions or corrections, please leave a comment (here's how) and let me know (or email me at kake@earth.li). See my introductory post to the Chinese menu project for what these posts are all about.

Date: 2011-05-04 01:04 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] ex_pinetree696
Somewhat related:

I've heard a few Chinese people refer to the British flag as the 米旗 ("Rice Flag") because the crosses supposedly look like the mi character. An interesting bit of trivia!

Date: 2011-05-04 01:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eatlovenoodles.blogspot.com
白飯 (lit. white rice) is the more commonly seen Chinese for steamed rice in Cantonese restaurants rather than 米飯.

Date: 2011-05-04 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunflower-recipes.blogspot.com
I think 米飯 is just another word for cooked rice not specific to steamed rice. Like the other reader has said 白飯 is commonly used to denote plain cooked rice, whether steamed, using rice cooker or cooked on the stove.

There are other non food use of 米

米 is metre/meter
米老鼠 is Mickey mouse, derived from the Mi in Mickey

Date: 2011-05-04 10:01 pm (UTC)
pulchritude: (1)
From: [personal profile] pulchritude
花生米, in my experience, not only refers to the specific peanut kernels (rather than the whole peanut) but also to an appetizer-ish dish containing salted peanut kernels (with the red skin left on).

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