Feb. 2nd, 2011

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

As I mentioned on Monday, tomorrow is the first day of the New Year in the Chinese calendar. In the Chinese zodiac, this coming year is the Year of the Rabbit, so this seems an opportune time to mention the Chinese character 兔 (tù), which means hare or rabbit.

One thing to note about 兔/tù is that although its pinyin transliteration uses the same vowel character as 魚 (yú/fish), the vowel sound is different. As [personal profile] pne explains in a comment on an older post, this is because the "u" of "yú" is really "ü", and so is pronounced more along the lines of French "tu". Conversely, the vowel in 兔/tù is a plain "u", which is pronounced simply "ooh". Remember, the grave accent on the vowel means that it has a falling tone (fourth tone). There's an example pronunciation of 兔 on forvo.com.

Although many people see rabbits purely as pet animals, rabbit is a traditional source of meat both here in the UK and elsewhere. It appears on Chinese menus in various forms; here are some examples:

麻辣水煮兔má là shuǐ zhǔ tùnumbing-spicy water-cooked (水煮/shuǐ zhǔ) rabbit
魚香兔肉yú xiāng tù ròufish-fragrant (魚香/yú xiāng) rabbit
青椒炒兔肉qīng jiāo chǎo tù ròurabbit stirfried with green peppers
怪味兔丁guài wèi tù dīng"strange-flavour" diced rabbit

Rabbit can also turn up in situations where you might expect to see chicken (雞/jī); for example, while 口水雞 (kǒu shuǐ jī/mouthwatering chicken) is a fairly common dish, I've also seen 口水兔肉 (kǒu shuǐ tù ròu), which I presume is rabbit done in the same style.

Finally, I want to point out that the lovely [personal profile] fu has created a latest things Dreamwidth feed for Lunar New Year. She tells me that any new posts tagged with "lunar new year", "chinese new year", or "new year" will appear in this feed. It's looking a little bare at the moment, but hopefully will fill up soon.

兔: radical 10 (儿) 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.


December 2012


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