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

酸 (suān) is the Chinese character for "sour". On menus, this often appears in combination with 辣 (là/spicy), for example as 酸辣湯 (suān là tāng), or hot and sour soup. Note that the Chinese is the other way around from the English, as the literal translation is "sour and spicy soup" — this also applies to other hot and sour items, such as 酸辣土豆絲 (suān là tǔ dòu sī), which is hot and sour shredded potato.

Another frequent partner to 酸 is 菜 (cài). In this context, 菜 means "vegetable", though 酸菜 is often translated as "pickled greens"; it's a tasty, sour, crunchy pickle made from 芥菜 (jiè cài), or mustard greens. Food Mayhem has a recipe for making your own, but you can buy it in jars too, either chopped or whole. I've discussed 酸菜 before, in my post on 酸菜魚/suān cài yú (fish soup with pickled greens).

酸梅湯 (suān méi tāng), despite using the character for "soup" (湯/tāng), is more of a drink. Eileen Eats has a recipe and some additional comments on the ingredients.

Here are some more dishes with 酸 in the name:

酸辣豆花suān là dòu huāsour-and-hot "flower" beancurd (extra-soft beancurd)
酸菜肉絲麵suān cài ròu sī miànnoodles [麵] with shredded [絲] pork [肉] and pickled greens [酸菜]
甜酸炸雲吞tián suān zhà yún tūndeep-fried [炸] sweet-and-sour [甜酸] wontons [雲吞]
酸豆角炒肉泥suān dòu jiǎo chǎo ròu nístir-fried [炒] pickled green beans [酸豆角] with minced [泥] pork [肉]
酸: suān radical 164 (酉) Cantodict MandarinTools YellowBridge Zhongwen

Characters mentioned in this post:
Other related posts:
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: 2011-07-01 07:43 pm (UTC)
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)
From: [personal profile] pne
A fun phrase related to calquing is:

"Calque is a loanword, but loanword is a calque."

(Because calque was lifted bodily from French, so it's a loanword; while loanword was translated part-by-part from the German Lehnwort, so it's a calque. Fun stuff.)

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