Posts Tagged ‘mandarin fruit series’

Exotic Fruits in Mandarin Chinese

peckishlaowai Posted in Learning Mandarin,Tags: , ,

I’m not done blogging about fruits just yet. Really I just want to share with you some of the exotic fruits I’ve come across in countries like China, Malaysia and Singapore and I want to tell you that one of the BEST things about travelling or living in Asia is that you get to eat exotic fruit (异国水果 Yìguó shuǐguǒ) you’ve NEVER even seen before in your life. So if you’re visiting a country in South East Asia – hell yes go to your local fruit shop as you’re bound to go on a little adventure as you’ll be seeing some fruit and vegetables (蔬果
shū​guǒ /果蔬 guǒ​shū) you’ve never seen in your life!

So I present without further ado – a few of the exotic fruits that I may have tried personally :)

Durian fruit:榴莲 liú​lián: is a strong smelling fruit that’s very popular in South East Asia but they are very pungent – so much in fact that they are prohibited in most of Singapore’s hotels and the MRT. Their smell is sometimes compared to smelly socks and you can even get a fine for carrying it with you on the MRT in Singapore. Talk about 禁果 jìn​guǒ forbidden fruit. :) I’ve smelled this one several times and when I finally summoned the courage to try it on my last trip to Singapore – it was not in season. To be honest I kind of like the smell and would not compare it to rotten socks at all. I think I read too many websites about it that went on an on about the smell that it kind of spoils the fruit for you. To be honest it’s just a very pungent, acidic tropical smell. If I trust my sense of smell (which I do) then I am sure I will love it. Hopefully it’s in season next time.

Jack fruit or 菠萝蜜 Bōluómì is literally pineapple + honey and I have tried this one before. Not as pungent smelling as the Durian although I did smell it before I ate it and I definitely didn’t like the smell nor did I like the taste. Have you tried Jack Fruit and or Durian? If so how did the two compare in your opinion? Please tell me in the comments below.

If you’re curious about the jackfruit take a look at this video below:

Pomelo or Grapefruit depending on where in the world you’re coming from = 柚子 yòu​zi. These may not necessarily be considered exotic but their size is something that inspires photos – photos like posing with them next to your head and sending those photos to family members in far-off places. Honestly they are lovely especially in China and they are a real treat to eat! A picture can be seen here. (No it’s not a pic of me posing with it sorry.)

龙眼 lóng​yǎn longan fruit – literally dragon eye fruit. Yes because it apparently looks like dragon’s eyes – at least it’s what I was told. Who am I to argue? In my humble opinion, not a match for a litchi in terms of flavour and fleshiness though but it inspires nostalgic eating if there is such a thing…

Luckily I can get still get this in New Zealand.

枇杷 pí​pa loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica) / loquat fruit. Should you get a cold and a nasty cough in China try buying some cough syrup made from loquat leaves (after you’ve checked it with your doctor or TCM specialist please of course).

火龙果 huǒ​lóng​guǒ red pitaya / dragon fruit. This fruit I guess looks like it has flames coming out of it – not sure why there is a reference to dragon in the second character maybe it looks a bit like the beard of a dragon? It does really not taste like much at all but is fascinating and absolutely stunning to look at. Because of it being such a beauty but not with much (taste) to it – I share with you this idiom I’ve come accross- ‘华而不实 huá​’ér​bù​shí flower but no fruit (idiom); handsome exterior but hollow inside / flashy.’

To be honest though – this fruit is really as beautiful inside as it is outside.

I took this photo at the Singapore Zoo.

Photo credit:

Rambutan 红毛丹 / hóng​máo​dān /rambutan or rumbutan – I only ever saw this in Malaysia and it’s certainly a bit a bit intimidating at first glance. It’s the fruit you see in the big image at the start of this post. It can be fleshier and more watery than a litchi and to me the taste was a bit of a mixture between an orange and a litchy but more watery and less sweet. The litchi though remains my favourite…

Chinese Bayberry / Chinese Strawberry 杨梅 yáng​méi is a fruit you’ll often see in China and I regret to say that I never tried this. Have I missed out on much?

Mangosteen = 山竹, shānzhú. I took photos of this in China and had no idea what it was. Don’t let this happen to you. If you get a chance eat it! Apparently this is really delicious… (A picture can be seen here).

Lastly if you really love your fruit and are keen to try some exotic fruits then I suggest you visit Malaysia. It seems there are a few fruit farms in Malaysia that appeal to tourists and have a variety of fruits that you can try at their farm. A specific one that comes to mind is Desaru Fruit Farm. Unfortunately haven’t had the chance to visit this farm myself but will definitely love to visit it one day. Check out the vid below that shows their awesome fruit farm.

So these are all the exotic fruits I’ve had to share with you. Apologies for not sharing more Mandarin with you during this post but I’ve been wanting to blog about this for such a long time so I just had to get this post out of my system.

Plus sometimes you just have to be Peckish :)

Getting Fruity in Mandarin

peckishlaowai Posted in Learning Mandarin,Tags: , , ,

I realised this week I didn’t know how to say “Give me two kilograms of oranges please” in Mandarin as I didn’t know the word for oranges! So I thought I’d delve a bit deeper into fruits over the weekend and am sharing with you a few things I’m learning about fruit 水果 / shuǐguǒ as well as a few interesting asides about them.

I’ve mentioned before that it’s not always easy to know what vocab to focus on and I guess part of this exercise is to address that – to think about fruit and any related words that might expand your vocabulary on a chosen topic. So I decided to get fruity and I’ve learned and am learning plenty :)

The fruits I really should know:

Oranges: 柳橙 / liǔ​chéng OR 橙子 chéng​zi

Apples: 苹果 píng​guǒ

For the geeks: 苹果公司 / Píng​guǒ​ Gōng​sī = Apple Inc. and yes they actually refer to Apple using the Chinese terminology on Chinese radio instead of using English Apple. Weird! Right?

Bananas: 香蕉 xiāng​jiāo (fragrant banana) or just 蕉 jiāo.

According to a ‘banana’ or ‘banana person’ 香蕉人 xiāng​jiāo​rén can be used as a mildly pejorative term used by Chinese for assimilated Asian Americans / Westernized person of Asian appearance.

Lemon / 柠檬 níng​méng or just níng​ or just méng is a popular flavour in tea 柠檬茶 níng​méng​chá and a popular Chinese dish with lemon as ingredient is 柠檬鸡 níng​méng​jī lemon chicken or chicken in lemon sauce.

Grapes - 葡萄 pú​tao – when fermented you get 葡萄酒 pú​tao​jiǔ (grape) wine and when dried 葡萄干 pú​tao​gān or raisins.

Mango - 芒果 máng​guǒ – for obvious reasons difficult to forget!

Melon - the common name would be guā 瓜 and forms the basis word for all fruits (even veg) of the “same family”. 瓜子 guā​zǐ = melon seeds and 大傻瓜 dà​shǎ​guā is not a fruit but a term used to tell someone they’re a fool or a jerk / lit. a silly big melon!

A few common melons:

  • Paw-paw or Papaya – 木瓜 mù​guā – literally tree melon because unlike most of the other melon varieties that’s where it grows!
  • Honeydew Melon = 白兰瓜 bái​lán​guā. I believe 哈蜜瓜 hā​mì​guā is another name for it and the one that’s more commonly used. Possibly more of a transliteration from the English name as the second character refers to honey and hā​mì​ sounds like honey.
  • Watermelon = 西瓜 xī​guā – named so because it was apparently introduced to China from the west.
  • And finally a useful idiom? 种瓜得瓜,种豆得豆 zhòng​guā​dé​guā​, zhòng​dòu​dé​dòu = an idiom that means “Sow melon and you get melon, sow beans and you get beans (idiom); fig. As you sow, so shall you reap.”

Coconut: 椰子 yē​zi – 椰奶 – yē​nǎi (coconut milk) while 椰丝 yē​sī would be shredded coconut – two very lovely ingredients used in South East Asian cooking.

Mandarin – this one unfortunately seems to have a couple of names 柑橘 gān​jú / 橘子
júzi / 蜜柑 mì​gān…

Peach 桃子táo​zi and 桃色 táo​sè would be – you guessed it – peach colour.
Peachy news or 桃色新闻 – refers to news of illicit love and the idiom 艳如桃李 yàn​rú​táo​lǐ lit. means beautiful as peach and prune. Figuratively speaking it refers to a “radiant beauty”.

Cherries 樱桃 yīng​táo = cherries and 樱花 yīng​huā = cherry blossoms.
Sample sentence from
The cherry blossoms come out in early April in Japan.
在 日本 ,樱花 在 四 月初 开花 。

Strawberry = 草莓 cǎo​méi and this can also refer to a hickey or love bite in Taiwan :)

Lime – 青柠 qīng​níng or 清柠檬 qīng​níng​méng or 酸橙 suān​chéng (lit. sour orange) and to refer to the colour you can use ‘青柠色 qīng​níng​sè’

Fig – 无花果 wu2hua1guo3. Lit. without flower fruit. I looked it up and aptly named because ‘While fig trees technically do flower, you’ll never see anything that resembles a flower.’ Source: Do Figs Flower? |

Pineapple - 菠萝 bō​luó or 凤梨 fèng​lí

Litchi - 荔枝 lì​zhī

Apricot 杏子 xìng​zi

Pear 梨子 lí​zi

Nectarines 油桃 yóu​táo


Two useful words you need to know:

  • 成熟的水果 Chéngshú de shuǐguǒ refers to ripe fruit.
  • 未熟 wèi​shú (lit. not yet + ripe) or 不成熟 bù​ chéng​shú on the other hand would mean unripe when used with fruit.

Other fruit related vocabulary

  • 果子酱 guǒ​zi​jiàng marmalade / jellied fruit
  • 核儿 húr pit (stone of a fruit)
  • 果啤 guǒ​pí = fruit beer
  • 果蝇 guǒ​yíng = fruit fly
  • 果木 guǒ​mù = fruit tree
  • 禁果 jìn​guǒ forbidden fruit
  • 果农 guǒ​nóng = fruit farmer while 农夫 nóng​fū = peasant / farmer and 菜农 cài​nóng = vegetable farmer)
  • Dried fruit 干果 gān​guǒ is really popular in China and you’ll see dried fruit / candied fruit shops everywhere in China.

Don’t forget your fruit etiquette!

In Chinese culture, when visiting someone’s home – it’s normally the thing to do to take a small present with to the host – normally a gift of fruits or snacks or flowers. However be aware that certain fruits have certain connotations and so do flowers.

For example I just learned that you should never ever share a pear with a lover, friend or spouse as a pear / 梨 lí has the same pronunication as it’s homonym ‘离’ in 离开 li2kai1 (to leave). More about Chinese fruits and symbolism

I think I’ve not even explored 1% of the vocabulary related to fruits but if you’ve never had a chance to look at fruits (beyond the basics) as part of your Mandarin studies, this might be a fruitful start :)

Which fruits have I missed? As always – I am happy to be corrected on anything I share with you. Your thoughts are always welcome.