Recently, I made the soft resolution to learn Taiwanese, just to be a bit more aware of my surroundings. And last Friday, while attending Chen Chu‘s re-election rally (more out of curiosity than of partisanship), I was clearly reminded of how useful that’d be since 99.99% of the speeches were given in Taiwanese 😖. Nevertheless, the event was quite jolly, with artists and local officials taking turns performing Taiwanese songs, and even a mini night-market setup for the occasion. Amazingly, I think I managed to get the gist of what elected officials were enthusiastically babbling about, so I guess, I’ve been unconsciously learning Taiwanese all along.
While I haven’t devised a serious learning game plan yet, I’m gleaning words here and there, 慢慢來. Not surprisingly, most of the Taiwanese words under my belt are food related 😜, and as I was dinking around online the other day, I discovered a list of food terms in Taiwanese on the nifty moedict 萌典 Chinese/Taiwanese/Hakka dictionary website. Actually, I think those lists were present long before I first discovered the website, but at the time, the whole interface in Chinese had me a little scared 😱 so I didn’t dare venture into all the corners of it.
Although this post focuses on food vocabulary, I encourage the interested of you to check out other categories, maybe you’ll find a theme that’ll peak your interest.
Here are a few examples, with illustrations curated by yours truly. The below dishes are best ordered in Taiwanese, else, well, if people look at your weird, you will know why 😉 .
Click on the picture for a redirection to the corresponding moedict entry,
which includes an audio option to listen to the Taiwanese pronunciation or simply enjoy the SoundCloud audio to hear the Taiwanese pronunciation. 🙂
Regarding the little quiz in the preamble of this article, all the dish names are applicable in both Chinese Mandarin and Taiwanese, except for one which is “100% Taiwanese”: 菜頭湯. The Chinese characters are phonetically equivalent of the Taiwanese pronunciation, so I had always made myself understood when ordering, and it’s only after many moons that I realized 「菜頭」(literally meaning “vegetables head”) is actually the Taiwanese word for daikon 蘿蔔. In my review of Old-Style Dongpo Pork 東坡鮮肉飯, I had even translated 「菜頭湯」as “vegetable soup” since I didn’t know any better 😂.
I hope this will be the first of many articles I’ll write about learning Taiwanese. If you notice any inacurracies, feel free to point them out, I’d very much appreciate 🙂 .
(last updated: 2015/02/02 一)