kake: The word "菜單" (Chinese for "menu") in various shades of purple. (菜單)
[personal profile] kake
An excerpt of a menu reading thus: 蔬菜 - Veg. 空心菜 (清炒, 熗炒, 蒜蓉, 上湯) — Tong cai (plain fried, stir [...]). 芥蘭 (清炒, 蒜蓉, 上湯, 白灼, 蠔油) — Fried Gai-Lan (plain fried, garlic, in soup [...]).

While I've previously had a gentle dig at mix-and-match meat-in-sauce Chinese takeaway dishes, the presence of mix-and-match green vegetable dishes on a Chinese menu is actually a good sign. Generic Anglo-Chinese food often neglects the vegetable side of things, aside from items like "mixed seasonal vegetables" (rarely actually seasonal) and "stirfried beansprouts", but a good Chinese restaurant will offer several green vegetable options, cooked in a number of styles. The Red Cook blog has a nice post on this subject.

Here are some leafy (and other) greens you might see listed on a menu:

豆苗dòu miáomangetout leaves/pea shoots
通菜tōng càiwater spinach/morning glory/ong choy
空心菜kōng xīn càianother name for 通菜
菠菜bō càispinach
菜心cài xīnchoy sum
芥蘭jiè lánChinese broccoli/gai lan
西芥蘭xī jiè lánWestern broccoli/calabrese
冬瓜dōng guāwinter melon
苦瓜kǔ guābitter gourd

You might also see 時菜 (shí cài), which means "seasonal vegetables" — and for completeness' sake, I should also mention 白菜 (bái cài), though given how thoroughly I've already covered this term, I expect regular readers already know more about it than they ever wanted to.

Here are some styles you might see these vegetables offered in:

豉汁/豆豉chǐ zhī/dòu chǐwith black bean sauce
豉汁辣椒chǐ zhī là jiāowith black bean and chilli sauce
蒜泥/蒜茸/蒜蓉suàn ní/suàn róng/suàn róngwith mashed/minced garlic
清炒qīng chǎoplain stirfried
姜汁/姜絲jiāng zhī/jiāng sīwith ginger
上湯shàng tāngin consommé
XO醬XO jiàngwith XO sauce
蠔油háo yóuwith oyster sauce

A few notes on some of these:

Interestingly, the menu pictured at the top of this post offers both 清炒 and 嗆炒 as options, translating the former as "plain fried" and the latter as "stir fried". According to mandarintools.com, 嗆 means "pungent", so I'm not entirely sure what 嗆炒 actually does mean. Update, August 2010: I tried asking about this in the restaurant the menu belongs to, but had a lot of trouble making myself understood. After going around in a few conversational circles I gave up and just ordered some 嗆炒空心菜 — it turned out to be stirfried with dried red chillies and Sichuan peppercorns. Update II, August 2010: I've just noticed I was writing that character wrong — it's 熗, not 嗆. mandarintools.com says 熗 means "to cook in soy". So now I am even more baffled.

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: 2010-07-19 08:55 am (UTC)
flick: (Default)
From: [personal profile] flick
Could 'plain fried' = in oil and 'stir fried' / 'pungent' mean in (say) chilli oil?


December 2012


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