Same but Different - Veggie Names in Chinese

Welcome to part 2 of Same but Different: Veggies Edition!

Our previous blog post explored the fascinating world of fruits and their diverse names in Chinese. Today, let's dive into the realm of green and leafy vegetables! Chinese food vocabulary is vast and diverse, and vegetable names are no exception. Prepare to be amazed by the various names these veggies use in different regions!

Let's go into detail, shall we?


same but different veggies


🫑 Bell Pepper (甜椒 tián jiāo / 燈籠椒 dēng lóng jiāo)

Bell peppers, with their sweet and crunchy goodness, are known as "甜椒" (tián jiāo) in some regions, emphasizing their sweetness. However, in other places, they are called "燈籠椒" (dēng lóng jiāo), which refers to their lantern-like appearance when they are hung on the plant, ripening to vibrant hues.


same but different veggie names in chinese katrina liu 

🥬 Cabbage (高麗菜 gāo lì cài / 卷心菜 juǎn xīn cài)

Cabbage, a versatile and nutritious vegetable, goes by different names. In some regions, it is referred to as "高麗菜" (gāo lì cài), while in others, it is known as "卷心菜" (juǎn xīn cài), which translates to "rolled heart vegetable" due to the way its leaves form a compact, rounded head.


same but different veggies in chinese katrina liu


☁️ Cauliflower (菜花 cài huā / 花椰菜 huā yé cài)

Ah, the ever-delicious cauliflower! Interestingly, the lack of an emoji specifically for cauliflower didn't deter us from sharing its diverse names. In some regions, it is called "菜花" (cài huā). In contrast, in others, it is known as "花椰菜" (huā yé cài), which means "flowering coconut vegetable" due to its appearance resembling that of a coconut tree in bloom.


same but different veggies in chinese katrina liu

🥦 Broccoli (西蘭花 xī lán huā / 青花菜 qīng huā cài)

Broccoli, a green powerhouse of nutrition, is celebrated under different names in various Chinese-speaking areas. It is known as "西蘭花" (xī lán huā) in some regions, highlighting its Western origin (xi means West). In contrast, other places call it "青花菜" (qīng huā cài), simply referring to it as a green flower vegetable.


same but different veggies in chinese katrina liu 

🥔 Potato (馬鈴薯 mǎ líng shǔ / 土豆 tǔ dòu)

Potato, a beloved starchy vegetable, has two prominent names in Chinese. "馬鈴薯" (mǎ líng shǔ) is used in some regions, while others prefer the term "土豆" (tǔ dòu), which means "earth bean." And here's a fun fact: 土豆 actually means "peanut" in Taiwan!


same but different veggies in chinese katrina liu 

🥒 Cucumber (黄瓜 huáng guā / 青瓜 qīng guā)

Cool and refreshing, cucumbers have their fair share of name variations too. In some regions, they are called "黄瓜" (huáng guā), emphasizing their yellowish hue when ripe. In contrast, other areas refer to them as "青瓜" (qīng guā), highlighting their green, unripe appearance.


same but different veggies in chinese by katrina liu

🍠 Sweet Potato (番薯 fān shǔ / 地瓜 dì guā)

Lastly, the delightful sweet potato has two distinct names. "番薯" (fān shǔ) is used in some regions, while in others, it goes by the name "地瓜" (dì guā), which translates to "ground melon."


Fascinating, right? If you're intrigued and eager to discover more about the diverse ways of expressing things in Chinese, check out my discussions on fruits and dairy! A whole world of linguistic wonders is waiting to be explored, and I can't wait to share it with you! Get ready for the next exciting chapter in our language and culinary journey!


You can also share the gift of a second language by getting this book here, in my store. Check out the delicious sustainable organic produce, freshly baked goods, colorful flowers, and so much more with Let's Go to the Farmer's Market, available in English, Traditional Chinese, and Simplified Chinese. Grab yours now!



same but different veggies in chinese by katrina liu buy let's go to the farmers' market

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