May. 25th, 2011

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

I mentioned 香 (xiāng) in one of my very first posts here, on 魚香茄子 (yú xiāng qié zi). The primary meaning of 香 is "fragrant", and indeed 魚香茄子 is often translated as "fish-fragrant aubergine".

According to Gong Dan's Food & Drink in China, fragrance in Chinese cooking implies more than that which the nose can detect directly; it includes the freshness of the raw ingredients used, the blend of seasonings, and the proximity of a dish in terms of seconds from the cooking pot.

香 forms part of several words used on Chinese menus, such as 香菇 (xiāng gū/shiitake mushrooms), 香油 (xiāng yóu/sesame oil) and 五香 (wǔ xiāng/five-spice). Note that sesame oil has other, more literal names too, such as 麻油 (má yóu) and 芝麻油 (zhī ma yóu).

Here are some dishes with 香 in the name:

魚香肉絲yú xiāng ròu sīfish-fragrant [魚香] slivered [] pork [肉]
五香牛肉wǔ xiāng niú ròufive-spice beef
飄香辣子雞piāo xiāng là zi jī"drifting fragrance" chicken with chillies
香辣豆花xiāng là dòu huāfragrant-and-hot [香辣] "flower" beancurd (very soft beancurd) [豆花]
香辣豬脆腸xiāng là zhū cuì chángfragrant [香] spicy [辣] crispy [脆] pig [豬] intestine [腸]
香菇雞包子xiāng gū jī bāo zibao filled with chicken and shiitake mushrooms
香酥鴨xiāng sū yācrispy [酥] aromatic [香] duck [鴨]

香: xiāng radical 186 (香) Cantodict MandarinTools YellowBridge Zhongwen

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


December 2012


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