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

瓜 (guā) is the character for "gourd", and is generally used for things in the somewhat hard-to-pronounce Cucurbitaceae family. Like the characters I mentioned on Monday, 瓜 varies in different fonts in a way that really confused me to start with (screenshot). It's worth getting to recognise, though, since not only is it used in its own right in several food-related words, it's also the radical for a few characters including the 瓣 (bàn) of 豆瓣醬 (dòu bàn jiàng) (screenshot).

Here are some ingredients that use 瓜 in the name:

青瓜qīng guācucumber
黃瓜huáng guāanother word for cucumber
矮瓜ǎi guāaubergine (though this term is only used in Cantonese, not in Mandarin — the Mandarin term is 茄子/qié zi — and the menus I've seen are more likely to use 茄子 than 矮瓜)
木瓜mù guāpapaya
南瓜nán guāpumpkin
金瓜jīn guāanother word for pumpkin
苦瓜kǔ guābitter gourd/bitter melon
涼瓜liáng guāanother word for bitter gourd/bitter melon
冬瓜dōng guāwinter melon

As well as the above, [personal profile] superpitching recently discovered another 瓜 vegetable — 勝瓜 (shèng guā), which apparently translates as "sponge gourd", "angled luffa", or "Chinese okra" ([personal profile] pulchritude notes in comments that this is also known as 絲瓜/sī guā). I have never noticed this on a menu, but will be keeping my eyes open from now on, because in my brain a loofah is something you use in the bath, and so I would dearly like to eat one.

瓜: guā radical 97 (瓜) Cantodict MandarinTools YellowBridge Zhongwen

If you have any questions or corrections, please leave a comment and let me know (or email me at kake@earth.li). See here for what these posts are all about.

Date: 2010-06-16 03:34 pm (UTC)
vatine: Generated with some CL code and a hand-designed blackletter font (Default)
From: [personal profile] vatine
This entry is doing something strange with the last paragraph (or, at least, does so in my browser). Instead of properly wrapping it, it extends quite a bit to the right, across a whole slew of things. I can, sort of, see the attraction of trying to eat something that would normally cause Out Of Context issues, though.

Date: 2010-06-16 05:41 pm (UTC)
pulchritude: (7)
From: [personal profile] pulchritude
Loofahs are delish. :D

Though er, 絲瓜 is the term I use to describe the two different varieties of loofah that are eaten. They are both delish btw and taste pretty much similar.

Also, I think it's interesting that you consider the radical of 瓣 to be 瓜, as my first thought would be 辛. Then I checked the dictionary and found 瓣 under both radicals. :D

Date: 2010-06-21 09:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eatlovenoodles.blogspot.com
"ai gua " is what the Cantonese call aubergine whereas "qie zi" is the more common Mandarin term. That said, the two are pretty interchangeable in Cantonese if not in Mandarin.

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