【Learn Chinese】English Words Borrowed From Chinese: Dishes
|Did you know that there are actually many English words that are borrowed from Chinese?
Next up we have a few popular Chinese dishes whose names have become part of the English language.
Now who doesn’t love a good chow mein? Well, the origin of this word is pretty straight forward, it comes from the Taishanese 炒麵 chau mein (Mandarin 炒面 chǎomiàn) meaning fried noodles.
Following on from chow mein we have another popular noodle dish: lo mein. This word comes from the Cantonese 撈麵 lou min (Mandarin 捞面 lāo miàn) which means “stirred noodles”.
Another American Chinese dish, chop suey takes its name from the Cantonese 雜碎 jaap seui (Mandarin 杂碎 zá suì) meaning “mixed pieces”.
Although this is where the name comes from, this dish is actually thought to be invented by Chinese Americans. But some people do believe it originated from a similar dish popular in Taishan that was then brought over by Chinese immigrants.
Last on our list of English words borrowed from the names of Chinese dishes we have the the all important dim sum! This word comes from the Cantonese 點心 dim sam (Mandarin 点心 diǎnxīn) which means “touching heart”.
It’s actually unknown where the Chinese name for dim sum originated from, with there being a few different theories.
Within the category of dim sum, there a couple of popular dim sum dishes that have also made their way into the English language:
Char siu: Cantonese 叉燒 cha siu, Mandarin 叉燒 chā shāo, Cantonese style of barbecued pork
Har gow: Cantonese 蝦餃 ha gaau, Mandarin 虾饺 xiājiǎo, Shrimp dumplings
Siu mai: Cantonese 燒賣 siu maai, Mandarin 烧卖 shāomài, Pork dumplings
Wonton: Cantonese 雲吞 wan tan, Mandarin 馄饨 húntun, Type of Chinese dumpling