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English-Chinese FoodMini – Introduction

Any tourist, traveler, Western business person or foreign expat can attest to the occasional challenge ordering food in China or Taiwan.English – Chinese FoodMini

Unless you’re in a five-star restaurant or pointing at a picture of a hamburger at some fast-food joint, you may find it difficult to figure out exactly what you’re going to get, or to get what you really want.

This mini food dictionary and phrase book aims to make the process somewhat less confusing.

China is a vast country; it is therefore no surprise that you’ll find a wide variety of local cuisines and delicacies. Use the Regional Cuisines and Regional Dishes & Delicacies sections to explore the tastes of the “Eight Culinary Traditions of China.” (I included some dishes from the area of Xinjiang, not traditionally counted as one of the “Eight.”) Taiwan also has a lot to offer in terms of local cuisine. Use the Taiwanese Dishes, Delicacies, Desserts & Beverages section to explore local tastes in Taiwan.

About the Romanization

Since 1982, Hanyu Pinyin has become the international standard system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet. This is the system followed in this booklet. (To make it easier on the eye and avoid confusion, I use hyphens to separate the syllables of a romanized word, although this is not the custom in Hanyu Pinyin.)

Correct pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese words can be a daunting challenge, especially when trying to wrap your tongue around the four tones (some other dialects have even more!). These tones have the function of clarifying the meaning of words, since there are many similar-sounding words in Chinese.

In romanized form, the four tones are indicated by tone marks or numbers. The former is used throughout this booklet, ex. miàn-bāo indicates the first character is pronounced in the fourth tone, and the second character in the first tone. When no number or tone is indicated, the word or syllable is toneless.

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