Archive for Language and food

Liuzhou Snail Rice Noodles

Liuzhou Snail Rice Noodles from China. (Facebook, Li Chong-lim photo)

The photograph is from this article:

China’s ‘propaganda noodle soup’ ordered off the market in Taiwan

Noodle packaging has ‘You are Chinese, and I am too’ emblazoned across it

By Huang Tzu-ti, Taiwan News (1/17/23)

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Portuguese words in Japanese, and beyond

Len Leverson sent me his unpublished paper titled "O 'pão' Português Conquista o Mundo" about how the Portuguese word for bread spread across the globe.  That got me to thinking about how many words of Portuguese origin are in Japanese.  I'll focus on "pão" more squarely in a moment, but first just a quick list of some important and interesting words of Portuguese origin in Japanese.

The first one that pops into my mind (for obvious reasons since I spent a couple of decades studying the mummies of Eastern Central Asia) is mīra ミイラ ("myrrh") because, when the Portuguese were selling Egyptian mummies to the Japanese as medicine, they often mentioned myrrh as one of the preservatives, and the Japanese took the part for the whole.

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More on glat(t)

We have been discussing the Yiddish word "glat", albeit with a lot of loose ends (see "Glat perch and medicare yam" (12/19/22).  Having gained some additional information, it is worthwhile taking another look.

From a colleague:

I am very familiar with the word Glat, or Glatt. It is often used together with the word kosher. Glatt is Yiddish for "smooth". This word relates to meat and poultry and is never used with fish. Perhaps Chinese borrowed this word because Israel exports food items to China, including fish?
What Is Glatt Kosher?

For meat to be kosher, it must come from a kosher animal slaughtered in a kosher way. Glatt kosher takes it further; the meat must also come from an animal with adhesion-free or smooth lungs.

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Starve Bird

As we were strolling through a mall on the outskirts of Dallas, this sign caught my son's attention:

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Steam Children with Chili Sauce

Looks like this one might have to be outlawed:


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A former geisha becomes Kimono Mom and learns English

The following note and video were sent to me by Bill Benzon.  The video is too long (19:15) to make as the main content of this post, but it is captivating, and I warmly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the topics it covers, especially English language learning by Japanese.

The video features Moe, the former geisha who successfully transitioned to Kimono Mom.  Among her interlocutors is a woman from Brazil who has a lot of interesting things to say about Portuguese (especially how different the grammar is from English).  Aside from discoursing on language teaching and learning, Moe is very good at talking about food and cooking for her little family, so if you like that sort of thing, hop on her channel (see below) and you will have many popular videos to choose from.

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Orissic hot pot

At the top left and bottom left of this restaurant's home page, written in very small Roman capital letters, it says, "ORISSIC HOT POT", and that is paired with the Chinese name, "zhè yī xiǎoguō 這一小鍋" ("this small pot").

If we do a Google search on "orissic hot pot 這一小鍋" (without the quote marks), we will get 4 pages and 80,000 ghits, the first of which is bafflingly "jīngdiǎn shítou guō" 經典石頭鍋 ("Classic Stone [hot] pot").  If we do a Google search on "經典石頭鍋 classic stone [hot] pot" (without the quote marks), we will get 4 pages and 15,100 ghits.

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Packaging for a box of sweets that a friend brought to me from China a few days ago:

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Sacré bleu! — the synesthesia of Walmart cyan

This is a follow-up post to "How to say 'We don't have any pickled pigs' feet'" (9/23/22).

If you had been driving along Route 30 in Valparaiso, Indiana on July 4, Independence Day this past summer, you might have caught sight of this itinerant jogger outside the Walmart there:

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How to say "We don't have any pickled pigs' feet"

I have a terrible hankering for pickled pigs' feet and have been to about a dozen stores in the Philadelphia area looking for a bottle of them.  So far no luck.

But I'm learning a lot about how store personnel tell me they don't have any.

Mostly, of course, they just say, "No(, we don't have any)".

If they're not sure, they usually say (regretfully), "I don't think we have any."

Today, however, I received the same answer four times in one store, "(It's possible) we may / might not have any" — as they walked me around to different parts of the store looking for the pickled pigs' feet.

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Indirect archeological evidence for the spread and exchange of languages in medieval Asia

The title of this article about the Belitung shipwreck (ca. 830 AD) is somewhat misleading (e.g., there is no direct evidence of Malayalam being spoken by any of the protagonists, but it is broadly informative, richly illustrated, and well presented.

"Mongols speaking Malayalam – What a sunken ship says about South India & China’s medieval ties

The silent ceramic objects that survive from medieval Indian Ocean trade carry incredible stories of a time when South Asia had the upper hand over China."

Anirudh Kanisetti

The Print (8 September, 2022)

It's intriguing, at least to me, that the author identifies himself as a "public historian".  He is the author of Lords of the Deccan, a new history of medieval South India.

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English French Toast

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Omnibus Chinglish, part 1

Fantastic collection of Chinglish examples from WeChat.

There are 18 examples all together.  I've already done 2 or 3 of them (see under "Selected readings" below), and a couple of them are not so great.  That leaves around a dozen that are previously unknown and quite hilarious.  I'll do them in two or three batches.


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