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

醬 (jiàng) isn't a character that generally appears standalone — on a Chinese menu, it's almost always part of a word. It essentially denotes some kind of jam-like or paste-like food, and is often translated as "sauce" or "paste".

The radical of 醬 is 酉 (yǒu/wine); note that it appears on the bottom of the character, rather than on the left as in most other characters with this radical. Characters with the 酉 radical are usually associated with alcohol or fermentation in some way, which certainly fits with 醬, as many Chinese pastes/sauces involve fermentation.

Here are some types of 醬 you might see mentioned on a menu, or used in a recipe:

豆瓣醬dòu bàn jiàngchilli bean paste
海鮮醬hǎi xiān jiànghoisin sauce (literally "seafood sauce")
沙爹醬/沙嗲醬shā diē jiàngsatay sauce (transliteration)
沙茶醬shā chá jiàngshacha sauce
醬油jiàng yóusoy sauce [see footnote]
XO醬XO jiàngXO sauce
黃醬
or 黄豆酱
or 磨豉醬
huáng jiàng
or huáng dòu jiàng
or mó chǐ jiàng
yellow bean sauce

And here are some specific dishes that use the character 醬:

醬牛肉jiàng niú ròubeef braised in soy sauce then sliced and served cold (see Su-Lin's post on 醬牛肉)
炸醬麵zhà jiàng miànnoodles with pork and fermented bean sauce, literally "fried sauce noodles" (see my post on 炸醬麵)
XO醬煎腸粉XO jiàng jiān cháng fěngrilled cheung fun with XO sauce
京醬肉絲jīng jiàng ròu sīshredded pork in Peking sauce (a sort of sweet bean-based sauce)

醬 is also used in the Chinese names of various Western sauces/condiments such as peanut butter, mayonnaise, etc — see the CantoDict entry for 醬 for a list.

Footnote: [0] [identity profile] sung points out in comments that the Cantonese term for soy sauce is different: 豉油 (si-yau) is the term used for soy in general and 生抽 (san-cao) for light soy and 老抽 (lao-cao) for dark soy.

醬: jiàng radical 164 (酉) 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: 2010-11-10 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eatlovenoodles.blogspot.com
As you may have gathered now, I am a rabid regionalist when it comes to Chinese language and foodie terms.

For the Cantonese, 豉油 (si-yau) is the term used for soy in general and 生抽 (san-cao) for light soy and 老抽 (lao-cao) for dark soy.

Date: 2010-11-10 06:25 pm (UTC)
john: Can of Chinese Diet Coke. Caption: anybody for a nice diet wax tadpole? (Diet wax tadpole?)
From: [personal profile] john
Mmm-mmm, jingjiang rousi. I miss it so much from Beijing...and the tofu pancakes too.

Date: 2010-11-11 02:41 am (UTC)
john: Various candles, in multicoloured jars, under trees in the evening (I heart BJ)
From: [personal profile] john
Same theory as Beijing duck, but made of tofu instead of grain! You just wrap them around the rousi and the usual cuke/spring onion and munch away.

Date: 2010-11-11 07:11 pm (UTC)
john: France, labelled as "IRAN". (F-IRAN-CE)
From: [personal profile] john
Sounds about right, yes, thin and chewy, with a sort of lattice rolled pattern.

Date: 2010-11-10 06:55 pm (UTC)
brrm: (firehead)
From: [personal profile] brrm
Interesting! This is it, isn't it?

IMG_3111-p

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