I remember when I went to a Chinese restaurant in China Town in NYC with a friend of mine and they handed us menus that were all in Chinese. At that time I had taken only one year of Chinese, but I really felt like I hadn’t learnt anything when I looked at that menu. Chinese dishes could probably have a lesson for themselves if not one for each dish. The point is not to memorize each dish, that would be too much, because really, you could just ask what’s in it. I thought it would be a good idea to just look at some Chinese dishes. In fact, why don’t you start by taking a look at the Wiki for a list of Chinese dishes. I suggest you scroll down to “Dishes by Region”, which I think is the fun section.
Speaking of Chinese food, the only time I spent at my first girlfriend’s house her dad made us taro with pork and it was one of the most delicious dishes ever, I forgot the name of the dish, but I know it’s from the south. I liked it so much we even made it back in the college dorm and it wasn’t really hard. I’m thinking Recipe post… anyways. Scroll down to “Fujian” in the Wiki page and you’ll see a dish called 佛跳墙 (fó tiào qiáng), literally “Buddha jump wall”, or also Buddha jumps over the wall. It’s apparently shark fin soup, a delicacy. Supposedly it’s so delicious even Buddha would jump over a wall to eat it.
In general there are different kind of names for Chinese dishes (I made a small list of chinese dishes in pdf),
炒鸡丁 (chǎo jī dīng) – fried chicken cubes
榨菜肉丝汤 (zhà cài ròu sī tāng) – pickled meat shreds soup,
扬州炒饭 (Yángzhōu chǎo fàn) – Yangzhou fried rice
烧二冬 (shāo èr dōng) – cook two winters, where winter 1 is 冬菇 (dōng gǔ) – winter mushrooms and winter 2 冬笋 (dōng sǔn) – winter bamboo shoots.
狗不理包子 (gǒubulǐ bāozi)- dog not obey steamed buns, From Tianjing.
That made me hungry! Well, I’m off for lunch enjoy.