Chinese Vocabulary | In the Kitchen | Learn Chinese HSK 2 – HSK 3

In the vast world of Chinese vocabulary, starting with the basics is always helpful. As we venture into the kitchen, it’s a chance to familiarize yourself with common words and phrases you’d encounter in a typical Chinese household or restaurant. From appliances to utensils and common ingredients, this article will provide you with essential vocabulary to navigate the culinary heart of a Chinese home.

Chinese words related to kitchen

厨房 (chú fáng) – Kitchen

冰箱 (bīng xiāng) – Refrigerator

炉子 (lú zǐ) – Stove

微波炉 (wēi bō lú) – Microwave

水壶 (shuǐ hú) – Kettle

盘子 (pán zǐ) – Plate

碗 (wǎn) – Bowl

刀 (dāo) – Knife

叉子 (chā zǐ) – Fork

勺子 (sháo zǐ) – Spoon

Chinese words related to seasoning

酱油 Jiàngyóu – soy sauce

盐 yán – salt

醋 cù – vinegar

胡椒 hújiāo- pepper

香油 xiāngyóu – sesame oil

油 yóu – oil

糖 táng – sugar

淀粉 diànfěn – starch

味精 wèijīng – gourmet powder

辣椒 làjiāo- chilli

Chinese words related to cooking methods

煎jiān – pan-fry

炒chǎo – stir-fry

炸zhà – deep-fry

烩huì – stew

熏xūn – smoke

煨wēi – simmer

煮zhǔ – boil

烘hōng – bake;

烤kǎo – roast

蒸zhēng – steam

红烧hóngshāo – braise

涮shuàn – dip-boil

腌yān – pickle

捣碎dǎo suì – mash

卤lǔ – marinate

水煮shuǐ zhǔ – poach

Some phrases

传统的北京烤鸭是在果木炉子里烤制而成的。Chuántǒng de běijīng kǎoyā shì zài guǒmù lúzǐ lǐ kǎo zhì ér chéng de.- Traditionally, Peking duck is roasted over wood from fruit trees.

小火煨四季豆,要在装盘前确认豆子煮熟了。Xiǎo huǒ wēi sìjì dòu, yào zài zhuāng pán qián quèrèn dòuzi zhǔ shúle. – Gently simmer the green beans on low heat and ensure they are fully cooked before placing them on a plate.

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Keep in mind that understanding the culture that surrounds Chinese food is just as important as learning the vocabulary while navigating Chinese kitchens or speaking about cooking in Mandarin. Every term holds a piece of Chinese history, customs, and culinary knowledge unique to that culture. Therefore, the next time you find yourself in a kitchen with Chinese speakers, dazzle them with your language and enjoy the culinary experience!

Chinese Vocabulary | In the Kitchen | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is the character 子 (zǐ) frequently used in kitchen vocabulary?

Answer: 子 (zǐ) is a common suffix in Chinese that often gives a diminutive or endearing feel to the main word. It can be found in many words beyond kitchen vocabulary to make them sound more colloquial or familiar.

Is there a difference between 炉子 (lú zǐ) and 微波炉 (wēi bō lú)?

Answer: Yes! 炉子 (lú zǐ) generally refers to a stove or furnace, whereas 微波炉 (wēi bō lú) specifically means “microwave oven.”

How is the Chinese kitchen setup different from Western kitchens?

Answer: Chinese kitchens often emphasize wok cooking, steaming, and boiling, so they might prioritize gas burners and steamers. They might also have specific tools like cleavers, bamboo steamers, and rice cookers that are less common in Western kitchens.

Is using chopsticks and forks/spoons common in a Chinese kitchen?

Answer: In Chinese culture, chopsticks (筷子 kuàizi) are the primary utensils for eating. However, spoons (勺子 sháo zǐ) are often used for soups or broths. Forks might be less common in traditional settings but can be found in modern households, especially with the influence of Western dining habits.

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