Funny Chinese Food Translations

[Reposted on]

The English translations of these Chinese vegetable words range from absurd to adorable. I’ve listed the Chinese character, the pronunciation, the English word, and the literal translation.

卷心菜 [juǎn xīn cài] – cabbage (literally, “swirling heart vegetable”)

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菠萝 [bō luó] – pineapple (“spinach radish”)

Huh? Maybe pineapple and spinach plants appear similar in the ground.                  Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 4.58.42 PM.png

灯笼椒 [dēng lóng jiāo]- bell pepper (“lantern pepper”)

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 芦笋 [lú sǔn] – asparagus (“bamboo reeds”)

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羽衣甘蓝 [yǔ yī gān lán]-kale (“feather dress cabbage”)

Image result for kale plant

西兰花 [xī lán huā] – broccoli (“western orchid”)

Ever seen the yellow flowers on a broccoli plant? They don’t look like “orchids”, but they are pretty nonetheless.

Image result for broccoli with flowers

黄瓜 [huáng guā]- cucumber (“yellow melon”)

Native Chinese cucumbers are yellow! The word “yellow melon” describes all types of cucumber, including the traditional green.

Image result for yellow cucumber

抱子甘蓝 [bào zǐ gān lán] – brussel sprouts (“hugging cabbage”)

Brussel sprout plants look like a bunch of tiny cabbages hugging each other.

Image result for brussel sprout plant

西红柿 [xī hóng shì] – tomato (“western red persimmon”)

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 4.56.21 PM.png

土豆 [tǔ dòu] – potato (“earth bean”)

I, too, am an earth bean.

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鳄梨 [È lí] – avocado (“alligator pear”)

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 4.59.24 PM.png

朝鲜蓟 [cháo xiǎn jì] – artichoke (“royal fresh thistle”)

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 4.59.51 PM.png

玉米 [yù mǐ] – corn (“jade rice”)

Screen Shot 2018-06-23 at 5.01.03 PM.png豆腐 [dòu fu]- tofu (“bean decay”)Related image


[Images courtesy of Google.]

Working on a farm

This summer I am working on a farm. I lead tractor tours around our 30 sun-drenched acres. My job involves eating raw corn, demonstrating how to pick strawberries, speaking some Chinese and Spanish here and there, and telling stories about vegetable history.

When I get hungry, I simply pick more strawberries. When I get tired, I go inside and hand out samples at the market stand. When I have to go to the bathroom, there’s a port-a-potty out back. When I need a moment to breathe, I inhale the rich musk of the earth.

Though I’m not quite a farmhand, I like to play the part. I wear a big straw hat and corduroy jeans, and invite guests to call me Farmer Chuck. When I get off work, I drive down Pacific Coast Highway to the sound of Arlo Guthrie, James Taylor, and Dolly Parton.

I relish the question, “Oh, where do you work?”