3 local dishes that you need to know their Chinese name

With the announcement of Phase 2 of the Circuit breaker, many of us are excited to finally be able to get out and eat delicious food! It’s safe to say that as Singaporeans, we take great pride in our selection of food in our sunny little island. We are extremely blessed to have a long list of uniquely Singaporean dishes, and many of us can probably name more than 5 within a moment’s notice. But, how many of us know the Chinese name behind these dishes? Let us explore three signature Singaporean foods and their names in Chinese so we can all learn and discover a deeper understanding to some of our favourite foods.

#1: Chwee Kueh (水粿, shuǐ guǒ)

Chwee Kueh is a simple dish made of steamed rice cakes paired with a savoury preserved radish topping. The balance of the beautifully moist rice cake, the slightly salty yet satisfying preserved radish and the kick of the chilli on the side is what makes this dish interesting. What is even more interesting is its name in Chinese, 水粿 (shuǐ guǒ) which is roughly translated as “water cakes”. Many might start to wonder, isn’t 水粿 the Chinese name for fruits? Keen eyes might pick out the difference in the character 粿, versus the “guo” in fruits which is 果. This 粿 is often used to describe cakes instead of fruits and is also present in another Chinese name for a Singaporean dish, fried carrot cakes! Or as it’s known in Chinese as 菜头粿 (cài tóu guǒ).

#2: Roti Prata (印度煎饼, yìn dù jiān bǐng)

Another iconic dish, Roti Prata. This famous Indian dish is known in Chinese as 印度煎饼. Directly translated, means “Indian crispy pancake”. The dish is made primarily from a dough that includes Ghee, flour and water, simply cooked over a hot flat grill. Often paired with s spicy curry or with sugar. Now you know what this dish is called in Chinese, you can better describe it to your Chinese friends, or to friends/relatives that are not from Singapore!

#3: Popiah (薄餅, báo bǐng)

Although Popiah is a dish we enjoy here in Singapore, did you know that it is also enjoyed in certain parts of China? It is also enjoyed in the Fujian region of China and also in Taiwan, albeit in differing versions to what we have here. In Chinese, popiah is known as 薄餅. The dish is made in Singapore with a thin crepe like pancake for the wrapper, and the filling is often a mix of ingredients like turnips, carrots, beansprouts, leeks and proteins such as pork.

We hope this article highlighting some dishes in Chinese was helpful! One might wonder why students will need to know this, but we at LingoAce feel that it is important to know how to describe foods in Chinese, especially when it comes to composition writing! So next time you are writing an essay, try including some of these new vocabulary in your writing. What are some of your favourite foods? And how do you say them in Chinese? Let us know in the comments below! Till next time!

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At LingoAce, we believe in providing every child a meaningful and memorable experience as they learn because learning Chinese is more than just learning the language. Find out more about how we can be fun and effective in learning the Mandarin Chinese language.

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