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Say It Right Series

Categories on Chinese menus

Posted by sushan September 4, 2008 in the Group General Discussion.

Tags: eating out, menus

Sebire's comment on another thread mentioned how tough it is in China if you have an all-Chinese menu with dozens of items and no pictures. One thing that really helped me was being able to decipher the categories on these menus - you then have some context for each dish. Here are the categories from a random takeout menu left under our door:

1. 火锅冒菜 huŏguō màocài - various food cooked in a basket lowered into a spicy broth; the specialty of this place

2. 面类 miànlèi (noodles - 类 is a character that comes up very often; it means category)

3. 盖浇米饭类 gàijiāomĭfànlèi- also known as 盖浇饭 or simply 盖饭, dishes that come over rice. The word 浇  usually indicates a very soupy mixture.

4. 米线 mĭxiàn - rice noodles

5. 汤 粥 tāng zhōu - soup and congee

6. 包子 bāozi - steamed stuffed buns

7. 小吃 xiăochī - snacks

Two other categories that show up on menus very often are

特色菜 tèsè cài - house specialties
饮料 yĭnliào - drinks

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