Multicultural pork buns

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Emery Snyder spotted this sign in New York City's Chinatown:

héyè bāo
lotus leaf bun

zhīma bǐng
sesame cake

Well, that's what the Chinese says.

The Chinese word for "pancake" is báo jiānbing 薄煎饼 or báo kǎobǐng 薄烤饼.

The Chinese word for "bagel" בייגל‎ is bèiguǒ 貝果, péiguǒ 培果, bèiguǒ 焙果, or bǎijí quān (Cant.  baak3gat1 hyun1 百吉圈).

Respectively, these translations of "bagel" literally (character by character) mean "cowrie / valuables fruit", "cultivated fruit", "baked fruit", "hundred / manifold auspiciousness circle".


  1. Vicki said,

    December 22, 2019 @ 7:19 pm

    Thanks for including the address: those look interesting.

  2. Jerry Friedman said,

    December 23, 2019 @ 10:30 am

    I like "hundred auspiciousness circle".

    When in New York in the mid 1970s I saw "Chinese pizza bagels". No doubt others can antedate that kind of metropolitan multiculturalism.

  3. chris said,

    December 27, 2019 @ 7:32 pm

    Any volunteers to find out how the "fried roast pork" is actually cooked?

    I was initially puzzled by the fact that the Chinese for two phrases that both included "roast pork" had no characters in common, but apparently the Chinese names don't mention roast pork at all in either one. Would a Chinese speaker know that there was pork based on those names (in the same sort of way I know to expect beef, but not ham, in a hamburger), or are the Chinese names just nondescriptive?

    …I suppose I'm just blithely assuming here that there IS pork in both of them, given that the Chinese names don't say any such thing. Maybe the English names are just a mistake.

    P.S. Metropolitan multiculturalism seems as good a term as any for pork on a bagel.

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