Archive for the ‘Chinese Language’ Category

Getting the Food You Want

2 October 07

When the DH and I first arrived to China, we lived at the Shijiazhuang airport. Being an airport located in the middle of cornfields, there were not a lot of dining options. We learned to order one dish – yu xiang rou si – and then proceeded to eat it daily. (Both because it was easy to order and we liked it that much.) Our food vocabulary has improved since those early days, but I still feel ridiculously unprepared when entering a restaurant.

How to Order Chinese Food and Like a Local are two lifesavers for the newly-arrived or the Mandarin-challenged.

How to Order Chinese Food will show you tantalizing photos, accompanied by a description and the Chinese name in pinyin and characters. There is information on regional cuisines, ordering guides by type of food and a glossary. Thanks HtOCF! Where were you two years ago?!

Like a Local shares pictures and descriptions of delicious street food around Shanghai (and has the cutest header graphic ever!). I don’t live in Shanghai, but if I did, I would keep a close eye on this site. Still, it is helpful for others in China as some of the food is similar. For example, all summer the DH and I devoured huge quantities of these little guys:


Yumm! Crawfish! Or as some people call them, crayfish. Anywho, from this post, I learned that crawfish are called xiǎo lóng xiā 小龙虾 in Chinese, which translates literally as little dragon shrimp. Something about that makes me happy. I like eating little dragons. I like eating!

**Update** Thanks to Kunzilla for pointing out that lóng xiā actually means lobsters, so crawfish are known as little lobsters. I still like eating little lobsters.

Like a Local also gives advice on how to order in Chinese and what the waitress will possibly say to you. There is also a valuable post on buying fruit from street vendors and how to avoid being cheated.

Scrolling through the Like a Local blog, I have come to realize it is my dream come true. Now, if only I were in Shanghai to enjoy this street food every single day!


Nerd News

26 September 07

Excuse me, I’m about to have a huge nerd moment.

Have you ever felt like spending your free time doing some independent university study? Really!? Me too!

The wait is over! Check out MIT’s open courseware. MIT is offering courses for free. Of course, you have to do all the work, but they offer the syllabus, lecture notes, handouts, and some have video of lectures and readings. I’m working through the Chinese I course and looking at the Medical Anthropology course.

Language Moments

30 November 06

In our quest to learn mandarin we seem to have overlooked one important phrase – “welcome.”

Like total idiots, for the past year every time we entered a restaurant or store we understood the workers to be saying “Good Morning” at any time of the day. We always thought, how nice! They are really trying to make us feel welcome, even if they’ve got the wrong phrase (good morning in the afternoon).

Turns out they are not saying Good Morning at all, but something that sounds like it, something like Huan Ying – which means welcome. (They say more than that, though including something that sounds like “good” or begins with a g. I’m going to ask my coworker tomorrow.)

And we, like complete dorks, always proudly responded, “Good Morning!” Doy…