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Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/14/2021 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    So, if you're like me, you avoid birthday cakes like the plague. Flavorless sponge cake, bland icing, and random fruit slices. All cakes are like this. I do not believe I've ever seen any cake of any kind that is not a sponge cake. The hardest part is the social aspect: it's someone's birthday and if you don't take a slice of cake, you're a dick. I've gotten in the habit of visiting the bathroom during cake cutting. My birthday was recently, and I had a baker foreigner friend make a yellow cake with chocolate buttercream icing. Everyone loved it, Chinese as well. And yet one cannot be had for love or money. If I didn't have a friend who was a baker, I wouldn't have been able to get one, either. Yet Chinese people liked it a lot, and I'm sure if they went on sale people would buy them. My new hobby is watching Douyin videos. No matter how many times I fail to press like, it keeps showing me cooking and baking videos. Every single time there's a baking video, the cook is always making a sponge cake. Rarely the cook will crush some dry chocolate cookies into the mix to make a brown sponge cake. I've had these, and you think you're in for a chocolatey treat, but the taste is just as flat and disappointing as ever. Why are sponge cakes so popular that they crowd out any other kind of cake? I've never even seen one for sale.
  2. 6 points
    @abcdefg If you're not writing your Chinese cookbook, have you thought of writing a book about how you came to know Chinese food and learn to like it? It's always so interesting to read.
  3. 4 points
    Yes - go into Settings / External Access and turn on "Show invert/orient in Screen OCR" to add those buttons. (we hide them by default because they're only needed in a relatively small % of use cases and people tend to get very touchy about that interface being too intrusive / complicated) Yeah, sorry about that. Here are a couple of screenshots of our previously-only-alluded-to new component search feature:
  4. 4 points
    I opened a chinese bank account in 2018 on a tourist visa. I think you need to find a branch that knows how to do it and isn't feeling lazy. I actually just made it into a bit of a game. When we were walking around, if there was a bank nearby, I'd just pop in and ask if I could open one. Took about 15 seconds per ask. I think about 8 said no. Finally, I tried a small branch inside of a subway station, and the guy was happy to do it. It's been somewhat convenient. I keep essentially no money in it. Wechat Pay works without issue, at least, so if I ever go to China again I just use that to pay.
  5. 4 points
    I didn't give up on my recording myself speaking for one minute(I had posted several up here last year), I just found a better avenue for it! I found a tutor who sends me a question on WeChat every morning and I send her back an audio message (approx 1 minute in length) of my response. She then sends me corrections. I pay her 30 kuai a week for this. Today was the 50th answer. Sometimes her questions are above my level, but I find a way to answer. An example question: "家庭和事业哪一个让你更乐于投入时间和精力?“ I have found this very useful on several levels: I learn some new vocabulary, I think of an answer in Chinese, I have become more comfortable recording audio messages. Sometimes I pose the question to Chinese friends and get their responses.
  6. 4 points
    Have you tried adding oil? Edit - lol - but in all seriousness wish you to rekindle the passion. For me, Chinese always has been motivated by social instincts. I barely ever sit down to study, unless ive got friends or colleagues who i get opportunity to speak to. It's difficult sometimes if you don't live in China. Ive organised my life however to the point though where I live and work with Chinese people. That way everyday i get chance to speak to them, and i get the rewards of improving social interaction, which gives me the motivation to study. Without that, i literally do nothing. So hoping you can find a Chinese friend to play a sport with? or work environment with a colleague? or move into a houseshare with some students? or language partners? or start livestreaming on tiktok and chat to peeps in chinese? Something to give your brain that dopamine hit of communicating with someone else. For me thats a wayyyyy betteer driver than reading a book/listening to a podcast etc (but we are all different i know)
  7. 4 points
    Even though it will likely be quite a while before I visit China again, I really appreciate these updates from Mungouk, Jim & everyone else. Your posts give much insight into how things are going in China and how things are being handled. Between your posts, comments from friends, and articles in the press, it shows how much more control China has over the situation (and its citizens). That China has an incredible level of control & monitoring, yet the virus still keeps circulating shows how difficult the virus will be control. Considering that most other countries have far fewer controls that China, it seems like our only chance of success for defeating the virus will be the vaccines. Yet, we don't even know yet whether (or which) vaccines will stop the transmission of the virus. To be clear, I think countries like mine, i.e., the US, should require much more use of masks & people themselves should practice safer behaviors. However, I'm skeptical that this will happen, so vaccines will be essential (assuming people are willing to accept them).
  8. 3 points
    Only nine months later in response to Roddy’s question and only second-hand information but here it is for what it is worth... My daughter wrote the DipTrans exam yesterday for Chinese to English translation. Yes, it’s still paper dictionaries only but, due to COVID, the exam itself was online and at home - so she didn’t have to travel to London. She was required to have a camera on her all the time but could “raise a hand” if she needed a bathroom break. For preparation, she took a third-party course which she found helpful, especially as she hasn’t done much translation work herself. This consisted of translating a variety of articles, both general and in her specialist areas. From the marking perspective, it sounds like one serious error can mean an automatic fail e.g. in one of the prep course pieces, she for some reason translated Qingdao as Chengdu. Her tutor felt she was well prepared and should be aiming for a “Merit”, although after the exam my daughter was a bit concerned that she’d made a bad mistake which might cost her a pass. Despite that, think she felt that the preparation course was worth it and gave her realistic expectations of what the exam would be like. She’d also read a couple of translation theory books which were recommended and which she found very interesting. The exam itself is in three parts: a three hour general section which everyone must write and then two two-hour sections in two specialist areas. Her planned specialist subjects were Literature and Social Science but you don’t have to commit beforehand and she ended up choosing a Science translation in the actual exam as she said the Social Science one was very technical. It was the Literature one she found tough as it contained a lot of slang. I think she took the exam as much out of interest as any serious intent, although if she passes I think she will probably try some freelance translation work. She actually seemed to enjoy the whole experience very much.
  9. 3 points
    Some nice recommendations here, with some good niche channels. One of the great things about youtube and other video platforms is the ability to find content for more non-mainstream interests. I'm old enough to remember the pre-internet days as a young kid, and it took a real effort to find anything niche. Once this thread gets to 2 or 3 pages I'll edit the OP to summarise everyone's recommendations. Right now the thread is still short enough as to make that unnecessary. Some more recommendations: As someone who likes both travel and eating (who doesn't?), I should in theory really enjoy travel/eating channels. Unfortunately, in reality I find most of these channels annoying, as they are more often than not hosted by some loud, gurning presenter, who pretends that everything they eat is the most amazing thing in the world. So I was happy to discover a Chinese language travel/eating channel that I actually quite like: 阿星探店Chinese Food Tour Google must know that I used to live in Harbin, as it recommended this video he recently filmed in the city. Now I feel both hungry and homesick! He has videos from many different cities in China, and his channel is well worth a look. Another channel (much closer to home this time) is the London-based: 英伦郭哥一家人 It's the channel of a Beijing man who married an English woman, and has lived in London ever since. His son sometimes makes an appearance too, often acting as a translator for his mother (who doesn't speak Chinese). I believe he was/is a musician, and he has some great stories about his life, both in England and in China. In this one he tells the story of how he took his wife back to China in the 80s, but wasn't allowed to sit in the same train carriage as her, with the 软卧s of the time being reserved for foreign guests and high-level party officials. He had to sit in the 硬座 section instead, and was told to stop bothering the foreign woman when he tried to eat with his wife in the restaurant car! This one is another favourite of mine, where he talks about how people in the comments were saying that he looks and sounds like the type of Beijing guy who fixes bicycles or sells baked sweet potatoes on the street, how did he marry a nice, well-off English girl? I like how he handles it with such modesty and humour, it's a good watch. Lastly, I watched a fair few videos from this dating relationship channel a while back, and while the advice might not be very useful to anyone over the age of 21, it's still worth it for gaining dating/relationship related vocab:: SKIMMY 你的網路閨蜜 Topics include how to spot a 渣男 or 渣女.
  10. 3 points
    In October of 2019 I had a Big Birthday in Kunming. Two sets of friends gave me a cake as part of the two celebrations. I know nothing about the type of cake used but I was impressed with the surface decoration and icing. Both were elaborate fruit jobs. Festive and delicious. Different from birthday cakes I've ever gotten as a child or as an adult in Texas. The one one the left was from my girlfriend. I appreciated that all the fruit was fresh and real. The bakery supplied some candles, which we used later. The one on the right was from my friends at the gym. The guys were horsing around with the numbers: I wasn't really turning 18. But again, all the fruit was fresh and real. To my way of thinking these are Chinese birthday cakes at their best, colorful and loaded with fresh fruit.
  11. 3 points
    I disagree with the previous responses. 红色 is a noun. In order to change it to an adjective, 的 is added afterwards. So a red apple would be 一个红色的苹果. 红色的 doesn't take degrees. Either something is 红色的 or it is not 红色的, so you cannot say 很红色的*. Such non-gradable adjectives are linked to the noun with 是 rather than 很. The result is therefore 苹果是红色的. The 是 and 的 here are different to the 是...的 construction described in the link. (*You can say 很红 however. In this case, you are not contrasting being red against not being red, but rather stating that something is very red. Also, in this situation, you can optionally add 的 to the end of the sentence without a significant change in meaning - thus, 苹果很红的. Furthermore, you can add 是 for emphasis (regardless of the presence or not of 的 at the end) giving 苹果是很红(的).)
  12. 3 points
    I used to take a keen interest in our local cuisine. Enough so that I was thinking of making a cookbook. It wouldn't just be recipes, it would be a discussion of why the local people made these foods, the philosophy behind them, education in Chinese cooking terms and what is considered "delicious", and so on. I had visions of myself as a modern Brillat-Savarin, "Tell me what you eat, and I'll tell you who you are." Plus, all the folks back home would see that I was an author now, and an Old China Hand as well. I went so far as to make inquiries about it. A publisher that specialized in English-language books about China ruefully explained to me that China is a niche subject, Chinese cookbooks are a niche subject of that niche, and regional Chinese cookbooks are a niche of a niche of a niche. At that point I just told him I'd send it to the print factory myself and pay their MOQ. 😃 He explained that this was "self-publishing", and that the public is prejudiced against the whole lot of self published books, thinking that they are written by self-proclaimed authors who are delusional about their writing abilities, or are obviously not good enough to be published since they were rejected by all the publishing houses. He was apologetic but I got the message. He suggested that the topic would be good material for a blog as I could collect people who were interested and they could follow along, and I wouldn't lose any money (this was back in the blogging era before social media exploded). In the end I never did anything about it. But I can wax rhapsodic on the local cuisine on the rare occasion someone asks about it. 😰 But usually they don't. 😩
  13. 3 points
    'Dou E Yuan' (Dou E Treated Unjustly) is my favorite piece of work among Ancient Chinese dramas. I really love the scene when Dou E was treated unjustly and about to be executed, she cursed that 'All of my blood bleed out will be splashed onto the white silk hanging there; now It's the sixth month in Lunar Calendar (about July) and it will snow heavily, and there will be draught for three years.' (血溅白练,六月飞雪,大旱三年) And after that, All these above came true. I really love this tragic feeling. For me, from a view as a Chinese, I consider this cursing an expression of Dou E's hatred towards the society - Dou E had a traumatic past, and she wasn't really complaining about it, as she believed that ‘whatever you do, good or evil, you will be rewarded in a same way'. However, at the moment she was about to be executed, she changed her mind, and began to have hatred towards this disappointing world. At the end, she was rehabilitated with herself in the form of a ghost, and I consider it as a 'typically oriental happy-ending'.
  14. 3 points
    Duck blood is pretty nice, and loads of Chinese people like it. If anything I’d say xinoxanu’s ex’s grandma is in the minority.
  15. 3 points
    Read it as Burgess lays it out and I suspect he's telling you -- yes, you, the Chinese literate -- that Tristram isn't as capable in Chinese as he thinks. The sort of only-a-few-will-get-it wordplay Burgess enjoyed. Why else would he actually set out the Chinese characters in his text? He was writing for you. While I don't know what level he achieved, Burgess was a student of Chinese from his time in Malaysia. (Doing stuff like this is how you get professors to spend a lifetime analysing your works.)
  16. 2 points
    Hello ! This is actually my first post on this forum so I hope I'm not posting in the wrong category. I have been studying chinese on and off for three years now, and I have a level between HSK 3 and 4, but I haven't took the officiel HSK exam yet. I also have a degree in English as well as Chinese ( got it in France) for what it's worth. I will be finishing my studies in wine retailing this year, but before starting to work I'd like to spend one year studying in China to really work on my chinese level, as I've never been to China or Taïwan before. However as everyone knows this year might not be the best to study abroad, with that whole situation going on. First of all as I've never studied abroad I'm really confused about what city to choose, how to find a good university that has a good chinese language center, how the whole application works... I've tried looking at a few of the posts here but I haven't had a clear image about what university or chinese language center to choose. I'm posting this in the Kunming section because I've always been really interested in Yunnan, I mean the place looks really gorgeous and so staying in Kunming I would be able to go around the province and visit some of the natural wonders. I'm also a history fan and I think that there are a few historic cities in the province such as Dali if I'm not mistaken. So would you recommend Kunming as a place to study for someone's first time in China ? If not, what cities would you recommand ? Secondly, if indeed Kunming is a good choice, what are some professionnal university/language center ? My budget is fairly limited, but I know there are few scholarships for foreign students coming to study mandarin. Where can I learn more about these ? Finally, let's talk about the elephant in the room. Are universities even taking applications in at the time ? What about September 2021, do you think students would still be able to enter the country ? I know that's a lot of questions, but as I'm pretty lost in my plans I hope someone will have some answers for me! Thank you in advance! By the way, I have a side question for those who've been living in Kunming : have you seen many wine shops here ? As I am going to graduate in wine selling, I'm pretty interested in the wine situation here 🙂 Thanks!
  17. 2 points
    Welcome! As you will discover with time, everything in China works in a case per case basis. That means that some universities are, some are not and two people asking at the same time, at the same university, will get two different answers. Ludicrous, uh? Well, 没办法. My advice: ask each university via mail/weibo/official wechat accounts til they put you through someone in admissions which can give you a somewhat reliable answer. September/October 2021 seems more reasonable now than back in November, yes. If a country like Japan manages to pull the Olympics with or without vaccines, then overzealous neighbours might follow suit. We'll see. Yunnan is gorgeous but I wouldn't recommend it for a first-time abroad experience to base yourself at. I am sure that @abcdefg can fill you in about the wonders of the area, and Kunming certainly has some places where you can study... but I personally gravitate towards Chengdu, the closest western-style city to Kunming and one that comes with a full expat community and relevant commodities. Living in Chengdu is not really that different from living in Paris (minus the ghettos I guess?) and is a major hub to anywhere in China (plane, train, bus) so it's easier to go anywhere from there than from Kunming. Dali is nice, but also boring and touristic af. As a rule of thumb, if a Chinese wonder has been mentioned in the West, expect for it to disappoint you 9/10 times. Usually it's best to study directly at universities (and avoid if possible those with "weird" names, such as Petroleum and whatnot - although in Yunnan they might be agricultural more often than not 🤣). Not only the quality of education might be better ("might", since you'll probably get a master student as teacher), but you'll need a safe & sound visa/RP nowadays and many academies are not that reliable in that regard. Nevertheless, in China don't expect European-style quality education - anywhere. https://studyinchina.csc.edu.cn/ and https://www.campuschina.org/ has information about scholarships, fees, contact info, etc. Google or the forums here are your friend for the rest. Expect to pay about 6000-10000RMB for a semester in W-SW China (+visa fees), more in coastal and first-tier cities. Usually the biggest university in town is the most expensive, but they all offer the same quality of teaching so pick whatever is more convenient or available. Bonus: cheaper universities might or might not be more lenient when it comes to "breaking the rules" if that's your thing, YMMV. As per the application, before this whole mess it used to be the case that you'd sign-up via the university's own admittance system. Usually that involves going back&forth with paperwork (requisites varying from uni to uni), obtaining a referral letter (if you are abroad) and so on. Once approved you go to your nearest embassy and they'll give you a visa that then you have to exchange for an RP once in China. It's pretty straightforward but also filled with BS to the brim. Regardless, once you manage to start the process is relatively clear what you have to do, so don't worry about it until you've managed to start it. Anything that is not too big or not too small, especially if you're on a budget. Kunming/Chengdu/Xian/Chongqing in the west; Wuhan/Changsha in Central China; Hangzhou/Ningbo/Tianjin/Suzhou/Xiamen in the East, but wouldn't recommend as a first-timer. Southern China is great if you go for work, not so much for studying Mandarin. The North will kill you. Prices vary, but also does quality of life: pollution, temperature, food, transportation and availability of western commodities will play a major role on that regard, so investigate those. At the very least we have Carrefour and Auchan in many places in China, and they carry the same stuff as back in France, so you'll be covered for western foodstuff. Cheap and savoury Spanish/French/Italian wine available everywhere as well. @roddy, perhaps you can move this person's post to the main/study forum? Some people with relevant information might miss it if it stays in a sub-forum.
  18. 2 points
    I really like Mandarin Corner. These are teaching videos. However, the creator, Eileen, uses real-life situations for her teaching. She offers them with & without subtitles. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2fAiRQHRQT9aj9P_ijYeow In addition to offering good learning material, I find the content of her videos quite interesting. Many involve interviewing people to get their candid perspectives of various issues. In one, she gets views of Chinese men & women as to whether they would date a foreigner. Others are on beauty standards and the feelings about "left-over women." Others involve how foreigners are perceived. One particularly insightful one is "why you can't understand real Chinese conversations". For this, she reviewed her previous videos and extracted out discussions with people speaking Mandarin with their local accent. For each, she shows what they said versus standard Mandarin. I realized that in many cases, I would have had trouble understanding someone, without realizing why. Her videos are good for those with different levels of fluency. Her "walk in a Chinese wet market" are good for low intermediates because she repeats similar phraseology multiple times (but in a way I find engaging). The creator of these videos, Eileen, said that it takes her 1 week to do a 1 hour video. Considering the quality & depth of content of these videos, I think this is understandable.
  19. 2 points
    Hi all, I'm new to Chinese and even newer to the forums. I realize I'm shooting from the hip here, but I want to participate in this thread so that next year I can reflect on my progress. Quick background: I started studying Mandarin in Oct 2020, and thus far completed the HelloChinese app main course and am about half-way through their immersion lessons (550 mini-podcasts w/ situational conversations, much like ChinesePod, although unfortunately less comprehensible input and more grammar descriptions). I also read The Chairman's Bao, currently pinyin HSK2 is smooth and HSK3 a bit rougher at about 90% comprehension. I have a Pleco deck of 1700 words with decent command of maybe 800 words. Finally, I get about 30 minutes of native content listening per day. Sometimes it is comprehensible (subtitled with English), but often it is just passive listening to expose myself to sounds and rhythms. My singular goal for Mandarin in 2021 is... ...to memorize 1500 characters. Ideally, I want more than just flashcard recognition. I'd like to read proficiently so that I'm at an extensive reading level, that is reading selected graded materials (e.g. TCB's HSK4 articles) at 98% comprehension. My work flow will look something like this: Using Heisig's RTH Vol I, create mnemonic device for each character. Planning to start sometime in March at a 7-10 character per day pace. Memorize pronunciation concurrently? Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this? In a YCLC podcast, one guest mentioned a resource called "The Maryland Method" by a guy named Sergei (sp?) written in his blog called Country of the Blind. Google has unfortunately yielded no results. Create and review pleco flashcard deck. I know there are a lot of Heisig decks out there but I'm unsure what the best format is? Start reading graded readers after first few hundred characters are memorized, some time around May. Somehow integrate Imron's memorization approach (https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/20067-visualizing-pinyin-tones/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-166892). I like this method, but seems like it would be best for an intermediate-advanced learner. Any thoughts as to whether a beginner could effectively use this approach? Questions for my future self How did you do? Did your plans change? How'd the execution go? Are you satisfied with the level you are currently reading?
  20. 2 points
  21. 2 points
    Actually we already support that - tap on the 'photo' icon and you'll see a horizontal/vertical toggle, tap on that and it should lock to that orientation from that point on.
  22. 2 points
    Hot pot is a staple in my house and I try to make it atleast twice a month. The kids love the cooking part and making their own sauces. The best part is how complex the broth gets towards the end and I drink it like soup or add noodles. I also save the brith then have it again the next day by myself lol with the leftover meats and vegetables. Stinky tofu hit me like a ton of bricks the first time, they brought it to the table and I felt sick from the smell lol. Now when I smell it I walk towards it and take in that unique odor.
  23. 2 points
    Utterly agree with this sentiment. Cakes in China seem to be widespread and often purchased for a multitude of celebratory events, yet they are always sponge and always have far too much whipped cream. Their is never any depth , or flavour, or texture. They look marvellous often, but taste awful. In terms of expectations and reality, you couldn't be further away. Cakes may be the most disappointing food item in China.
  24. 2 points
    Agree -- I was trying to hear Wong Sia Chia as Wong Xiaojie, but found it a stretch. I have known this lady casually for several years. Was introduced by mutual friends. I have visited at her home as a guest, met her sister and husband and so on. She speaks pretty standard Mandarin, for whatever that's worth. But she's rusty and must pause to recall the best way to say things. Her memory is also not always sharp. Her immediate family contains no other Chinese speakers, so her language skills are never needed, never used. Isn't Wong the way 王 is rendered in Hong Kong? (Instead of Wang.) Jyutping instead of Pinyin.
  25. 2 points
    I think you are right, @Amy. A few other factors influence bitterness of that melon. Young ones tend to be less bitter than older ones. You can usually tell by the size of the skin bumps. Second indicator is overall size. Dark vs. light color can be misleading. Two other things makes a difference in the bitterness of the final dish. First is how the melon is cleaned/prepped. Once it it is sliced the long way, be sure to scoop out all the seeds, but also scoop out the tough white membraneous pith that lines the center where the seeds are found. Eat only the green outer part. Last thing is if you think you might have gotten a very bitter specimen, salt it after you chop it and let it stand about 10 minutes. It will exude some moisture. Squeeze it with your hand to expel even more moisture. That juice carries away some of the bitterness. Even with all that, I have sometimes been fooled and wound up having to make strange puckering faces after each bite of the finished dish. It's not totally predictable.
  26. 2 points
    You're missing out! 鸭血汤 is one of my favorites in the "simple dishes" category. So much so that's I've been in touch with some butcher shops in Oslo to see if I can buy some of that delicious duck blood (but to no avail, only pig and ox blood available).
  27. 2 points
    I always had a few cubes of firmly-congealed pigs blood with my morning rice noodles 米线 as a student in Kunming. Cost an extra 1 Yuan. If the weather was especially cold or I was unusually hungry, some tofu went in there too. Bumped up the nourishment; bumped up the flavor. Breakfast of Champions! As to duck blood, well I can take it or leave it.
  28. 2 points
    I particluarly like two features of hot pot, in addition to the communal/social aspect. First is is how it changes during the course of the meal. In Kunming I had supper a couple times a month with friends who were from Chongqing 重庆。They nearly always made hotpot, seldom made 炒菜 fried food. It was their custom to begin by putting in "solid" vegetables, like potatoes, lotus root, and radish 败萝卜 because they took longer to cook. Sometimes tomatoes and corn on the cob. Sometimes mushrooms. When those got ready to eat, we would have some. Then the meat would go in. Usually it was just one kind, not a variety, because they didn't have much money. Maybe today it was pork, or a nice piece of beef shoulder. If it was a tough cut, as was often the case, they partly pre-cooked it beforehand in a pressure cooker. Sometimes the pot featured a fish, cut into pieces. Once I recall having fish plus shrimp. After we all had a chance to have some meat, then it was time to add tofu and several kinds of greens. If anyone was still hungry, cook more greens. Then noodles 面条 and glass noodles fentiao 粉条 would follow. So during the meal, the hot pot was constantly changing. And the broth was becoming more and more complex and succulent. When a westerner tells me he doesn't like hot pot, I have to wonder whether it was because of a bad introduction; whether the hosts didn't order a tasty assortment of ingredients. It can be wildly varied. The other thing I like about hot pot is the way you can augment and tailor the experience by blending your own dipping sauce. Chili oil, black vinegar, sesame paste, fermented black beans, cilantro, scallions, fermented tofu, soy sauce, oyster sauce, on and on. Liquid ingredeints, pastes, powders, leaves. Blend to your taste. Better hot pot restaurants always tended to have six or eight or ten ingredeints available and set up kind of like a salad bar where you could "build" your own personal bowl of dipping sauce. In fact that was one of the reasons to eat out instead of making hotpot at home. You dip each bite into your own small dish of dipping sauce. If you got it wrong and it's too sweet, go back and add more vinegar. Too sour; sprinkle in some sugar. Not enough dark sesame oil; easily remedied. Not hot enough, ditto. Usually rice was available at the end. The youngsters who had huge apetites would sometimes mix rice with a bowl of broth from the pot. By now it was very flavorful. A wonderful soup. Hard to resist. As far as exotic ingredients, my favorite was duck tongues. Yes, they contain a bone. A real bone, not cartilege, though to this day I'm uncertain of the underlying anatomy. Hotpot also can have different regional characteristics. I once had a lady friend from Sichuan with whom I frequently ate hotpot. When doing the ordering we always had to include a plate of duck intestines. She strongly maintained "没有鸭肠,不是火锅。“ One of Yunnan's regional prides is wild mushroom hotpot in the summer when they are in season. Special restaurants have a large stock of freshly picked wild mushrooms and they serve very little else. The waitress insists on cooking them for you to start. She stands sentry at your table and guards the pot while watching a timer. You are not allowed to even dip your chopsticks in the pot until she gives the OK. Some wild mushrooms are poisonous if not cooked long enough, and this insures they have been professional and diligent.
  29. 2 points
    Hello everybody, I have been reading in this forum for some months, and I think this thread is a good occasion for a first posting. I have studied Japanese about 30 years ago (and forgotten most of it), and when Corona came I was searching for some online MOOC to brush it up. But since I could not find good Japanese MOOCS but lots of Chinese ones I decided to start something new. So far I have finished "Chinese for Beginners" at coursera.org which was Pinyin-only; then "Chinese for HSK1", and now I am in week 4 of "Chinese for HSK2". My plans for 2021: Practise with Anki 30 minutes every day. Finish the last three weeks of "Chinese for HSK2" until March (yes, I need more than one real-life-week to complete a week of the course). After that I plan to reward myself with a good Chinese grammar book and recap all the grammar points I have met so far. And then I am not sure if I should go on with Coursera's "Chinese for HSK3" or buy some chinese readers. My long-term-goal is to pass the HSK3 certification by the end of 2021 or in 2022 (skipping HSK1 and HSK2 certs). But first things first. Half an hour of Anki every day. This forum is really great and I got lots of information and motivation already.
  30. 2 points
    @mungouk -- About seasoning your new wok, even though you probably already know these basics, please let me review them here all in one place. (These are specific to your wok, a cast iron wok 铸铁炒锅。) 1. Scrub the wok out with dish detergent and warm water. This is mainly to remove the surface protectant coating which the manufacturer applies to keep the wok from rusting while it is in a warehouse or on the shelf of a retail store. A dish rag or plastic dish scrubbing pad will usually do the trick, but if not, it's OK to resort to harsher measures. In China one can easily buy stainless steel wire scrubbing balls in all grocery stores and supermarkets for very little money. They make quick work of the process. They are called by several brand names, but asking a clerk for 厨房用清洁炒锅铁丝求 will get what you need. (Dishwashing detergent is called 清洁剂 and 白猫 is a popular brand.) 2. Rinse the wok several times to get rid of all the detergent you have used. Heat it on your burner or flame at a medium-high setting for a couple minutes until it is completely dry. Pour in a little bit (one or two teaspoons) of high-smoke-point cooking oil. Canola oil 玉米油 or rapeseed oil 菜籽油 are suitable and readily available. (Olive oil 橄榄油 is not a good choice.) Rub it around. I do this by grasping a wadded-up paper towel with chopsticks. You want to thinly coat the entire surface, but you don't want a pool of oil in the bottom of the pan. Let it continue to cook on medium-high for 15 or 20 minutes, rubbing it with a little fresh oil when it begins to look dry. It will smoke during this process. At the very end of the process, with the pan still hot, I rub the outside well with an oily paper towel. I don't obcess over truly curing the exterior surfaces. 3. If you have time, let the wok cool down, rinse with soapy water as above, dry it and season it again. Even twice more makes sense. If not, that's OK. Once will get the job done pretty well. The idea behind this seasoning process is that the steel of the wok is microscopically porus and the clean hot oil is allowed to bond with it and produce a smooth, non-stick surface. The high temperature allows this oil to polymerize and behave somewhat like a plastic. Since you are using an induction hob instad of a flame, take special care to get the wok thoroughly hot. If it is not hot enough, the surface will wind up being sticky. 4. Serious Chinese home cooks carry it one step further. I am not personally convinced it is actually worth the trouble, though I do follow the dogma out of a religious hope that it is slightly beneficial. This step involves seasoning the wok with a neutral vegetable in addition to oil. Jiuci 韭菜 is the one usually recommended; it is sold year around in fist-sized bunches for 5 or 6 Yuan. Heat the wok to medium high, add oil as before, but this time put in enough jiucai to loosely cover the bottom of the pan. Let it cook until it starts to blacken and char, then grab it with your chopsticks and rub it all around the inside of the pan, being careful to include the sides (not only the bottom.) I do that several times, with several batches of jiucai. (The jiucai is ruined by this; throw it away.) Spring onions 小葱 can be used for this, but they cost more than jiucai. 5. When I use the wok for cooking, I clean it mainly with warm water and a scrub brush. If something has stuck to the pan, I let it soak with hot water for half an hour or so, then scrub it again. I don't use detergent. Rarely I will use the metal scouring ball. Mechanical cleaning is preferable to chemical cleaning since it is less likely to remove the deeply-bonded food oils. (You want those to remain because they make the pan slicker and shinier over time.) 6. When I have washed the wok and rinsed it well, I set it over low flame for half a minute or so and wipe it out with a paper towel. This insures that it is thoroughly dry. Put a small splash of cooking oil on a wadded-up paper towel and rub it all over while it is hot. When it cools, wipe it with a dry rag or paper towel to remove excess visible oil and put it away. I keep my wok in a disposable recycled rag-fabric bag from the supermarket. This allows me to "nest" another smaller pan in it without scratching. (A plastic bag is not a good idea because it traps atmospheric moisture and encourages rust; the bag needs to "breathe.") 7. Once every six or eight months I give it a "mini re-seasoning" just to maintain it at its prime. The only other care precaution that comes to mind is that I don't store food in it overnight since that can degrade the cured surface of the metal and might also make the food taste funny. My wok keeps getting better and better. It's a pleasure to use. I can usually heat it to medium, wipe it with a tiny amount of oil on a paper towel, crack one or two fresh eggs into it sunny-side-up and move them around just by gently shaking the pan. (That's only when I'm showing off or testing the pan; typically I do use oil when frying.)
  31. 1 point
    There are more and more Chinese language Youtube channels popping up, covering a wide variety of interests and hobbies, and they make for a great learning resource. Here are a few of mine. Feel free to add your own. General life in China Channels: One of my new favourites is 小叔TV . His content consists of walking around various localities in China, with a focus on the more forgotten, left behind type places. While it doesn't sound too exciting, I really like to watch now that I'm not living in China anymore. He offers some interesting insights into Chinese society and economy, and it's interesting to see these normally unseen locales. You really get to see what everyday life is like for many (maybe most) Chinese people. I discovered 当下频道DxChannel while researching an essay about 地摊经济 (the idea of jump starting the post lockdown economy by allowing people to set up little market stalls in the streets). In their video they tried to set up their own little stall in Shanghai to see how much they could make in a day. Most of their recent content is about young people trying to set up businesses, so I think it's quite an interesting insight into entrepreneurs trying to make it in China. IC实验室 is a channel about marketing, the economy and society in general. They have some great videos about Chinese internet culture and how that relates to marketing. The first video of theirs I watched was this great one about 奋斗逼 (people who work themselves into the ground, with no benefit to themselves or their colleagues). Their video about 添狗 was an interesting insight into dating in China. Gaming Channels: I got into gaming (particularly retro gaming) channels a few years back, and decided to find some Chinese channels about the topic to turn it into a learning opportunity. Gamker is a good one, creating professional long-form reviews of the latest games (they just released their Cyberpunk one), and 小宁子 is always a relaxing watch, with more chilled game reviews. 老孙聊游戏 is probably my favourite though. Although ostensibly a retro gaming channel, he actually ends up covering the changes in Chinese society from the 80s to early 00s, as he talks about how he met his wife, how he set up a gaming shop, the development of his city etc. TV/Movie Reviews and Retrospectives: I have been able to watch and understand TV shows and films with no problem for a couple of years now, but always struggled to explain the plot or content of what I had watched to my teacher. I mean, I could do it in a simple way, but just not as articulate as I would have liked, so I started watching these kind of channels to fix that. These two mostly just take the mickey out of really bad Chinese dramas, but also feature the odd really good show now and again (I've discovered some really good TV shows as a result): 哇哇哇妹 (I like their end of year "worst of" awards) 开心嘴炮 These movie channels only really review ones that they like, and it's a good way of finding good potential movies, both modern and classic: 看电影了没 大聪看电影 越哥说电影 News: For official Chinese government news I quite like新闻1+1 and 今日关注 (they normally focus on a single topic). When I need a break from the official party line, I check out these North American based news channels: stone记 公子沈 (a little bit too anti-CCP in an axe-grindy kind of way, but a good balance to official news channels) Misc: I used this channel to learn Chinese cooking while in lockdown in China: Chef Wang 美食作家王刚 李永乐老师 is fun education/lecture channel about economics. maths and science. He manages to get hundreds of thousands of views, despite the super low production values (basically just him in front of a blackboard), which is a testament to the quality of the teaching: 李永乐老师 True life crime channel: X调查 Mr and Mrs Gao is a good one for Chinese learners, as the uploads generally consist of a husband explaining various topics and weird stories from around the world to his wife. They range from black hole theory to the lives of famous people, so you get a wide range of vocab. They consistently get millions of views an upload, so are one of the most popular Chinese channels on youtube: Mr and Mrs Gao Profiles of famous Chinese people: Your Studio 有耳工作室 Everyday economics (ok, if you can get over the weird disguise the presenter always wears 😂 ) 人人都该懂的经济学 逻辑思维 stopped uploading their philosophy/history podcast around three years back, but their library of 200 uploads is worth watching, if you're into that sort of thing: 逻辑思维 Good channel about computer programming (by a Chinese coder living in the US): SchelleyYuki This is the channel of the Beijing MMA fighter who likes to expose fake martial artists by challenging them to real fights (expect lots of profanity and beef): 徐晓冬北京格斗狂人 This is a channel that does a good job of explaining current affair topics, accompanied by some nice illustrations. Good for Chinese learners given the breadth and relevance of the subjects covered: 点点动画 Finally, I probably should include Papi酱. She's one of the biggest 网红 in China (or at least she was), and although she seems to have moved on to 抖音 now (hence the 60 sec videos), her older videos are still worth watching for their satire of modern Chinese life: Papi酱
  32. 1 point
    Exactly like the ones in Harbin (except that one did also sell an 玉米 version, which I didn't like as much). Speaking of Harbin, there was another cake shop I liked to go once a week, it sold these Hong Kong style sponge cakes and some Malay/Indian style milk tea: About 10元 per half a rectangle, iirc. Delicious.
  33. 1 point
  34. 1 point
    OK I just tried the latest Beta from https://www.microsoftedgeinsider.com/ and this works fine on my Mac running Mojave (10.14.6). Yes, the new "online" voices are impressive. ETA: These online voices are using Azure's Neural TTS service. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/text-to-speech/ Here's a blog post from December about the newer voices, with samples of each: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/azure-ai/azure-neural-text-to-speech-updates-51-new-voices-added-to-the/ba-p/1988418
  35. 1 point
    IKEA have just launched some new woks (at least they have in China), including this teflon/aluminium one that they say works on an induction hob: https://www.ikea.cn/cn/en/p/silverlax-wok-with-lid-non-stick-coating-40494797/ That had me scratching my head for a few minutes, but looking at the description of materials, it turns out that silver disc on the bottom is made of steel.
  36. 1 point
    Thanks, after doing some baiduing, the name of the ones I used to eat are called 无水脆皮小蛋糕.: Being very basic sponge cakes, I don't think they would be very popular with other people in this thread 😄. I personally like them a lot, they are great fresh from the oven on a cold winter's morning. Most people seem to buy a whole kilo's worth, but I don't know how anyone could eat that much cake. They are best eaten fresh, as they lose a lot of crispiness after a couple of hours (although putting them under a grill for a minute helps with that). Whenever I wanted something more fancy, I would try a shop called 食之秘/Secret Recipe: I don't know if people here would consider the cakes to e simple sponges, but I liked them a lot. The are much pricier though, at around 30 for a large slice. They had a 2 for 1 promotion just after the lockdown ended, so that's when I ate the most.
  37. 1 point
  38. 1 point
    Hi Kenny. I really enjoy following your translation questions here - another interesting one! As with some of your previous posts, it really depends on the context in which the translation is going to be used, particularly because the phrase is an official govt slogan. If the translation is for someone interested in a layman's understanding of the phrase, I think 'a well-preserved environment is priceless' works fine. However, the phrase is a lot deeper than that, as I'm sure you know, as it reflects on the govts shift from 'prosperity can only be brought about at the cost of the environment (ie industrialisation)' to 'we can keep making money while /also/ looking after the environment'. In which case, something like 'the environment must be treasured, as that is where true value lies' might do a better job of capturing this depth in meaning. Finally, the more literal style that I believe is used in state media translations does not need to be glossed if the translation is for direct reporting on what the govt is saying about the environment. I believe it is, "Clear waters and green mountains are as valuable as gold and silver mountains". Sounds very Chinese, but that is not a problem in this last context. Hope this helps a little
  39. 1 point
    Hello I came across this sentence - 苹果是红色的 I know 的 is like a word of possession but I've never seen it used at the end of the sentence. Does it have a different meaning here? Could someone please explain this grammar feature?
  40. 1 point
    On reflection I agree with you. I suppose in the instance the opening post quoted, the 是 and the 的 are used as a way of attaching an attribute and isn't a typical 是....的 construction. Reminds me of the very famous Blackadder scene below - they don't make comedy as well as they used to; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHWF50pXkEw
  41. 1 point
  42. 1 point
    @xinoxanu You got me excited posting in this thread. I thought there was an update for Pleco 4.0...
  43. 1 point
    It’s not Chinese but I recently revisited “natto” because I tried it a couple of times about 8 years ago and really didn’t like it, but I just keep hearing how much Japanese people like it so I gave it another try last year, bought a pack of 3 servings and now I’m hooked. I buy it almost every week and become a bit snobbish about it, always looking out for some specialty natto brand at the grocery 😂 I read on wikipedia that it’s similar to 水豆豉 in China but I haven't tried it yet.
  44. 1 point
    One of the reasons it's "special" is that you get to partake in the cooking yourself (it's about as social as eating outside of home can get). Hotpot is not something I would ever consider to eat alone / cook for myself, but I've come to enjoy having it with friends/family a great deal over the years. I guess it is the equivalent of "fondue" or "raclette", both of which are very popular in Germany and Switzerland and primarily "social" dishes: https://www.german-way.com/history-and-culture/holidays-and-celebrations/silvester-new-years-eve-germany/raclette/ https://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/fondue I think they call Chinese Hotpot also "Chinese fondue". First time I had hotpot, my friends ordered duck blood cubes. Those are still "no no food" for me today...
  45. 1 point
    Mandarin Get back into a routine of: -watching tv everyday -reading 30 minutes a day -making 10 new flashcards a day (currently using Migaku tools and it makes it an absolute breeze) -going to start taking some italki classes to add more structure too, if anyone has recommended teachers I'd love to hear about them. Last year I made 1350 new cards mined from tv shows, which is only 3.7 a day. Better than nothing I suppose! Cantonese In the last week of 2020 I started learning Cantonese. I'm taking it slow as to not burnout but I'm finding it really fun so far. Knowing a bunch of mandarin has definitely helped. So far I'm just reviewing words I learned during weekly Italki lessons and turning them into anki cards. I've had 4 lessons with Gary so far and he's great! What a coincidence to see him pop up here.
  46. 1 point
  47. 1 point
    寿 “longevity."
  48. 1 point
  49. 1 point
    Once I got to this points I stopped choosing words based on frequency and more based on “oooh I want it” with an attitude of fun. That’s why I learned 陨石 (meteor) the other day. What are the chances I’ll see that again but I find fun and humor in that word. I think so. As an alternative to other’s encouragement to just keep reading, I prefer switching focus and collecting interesting books on the side. I was doing that for awhile and now that I have five books I REALLY want to read getting back into has been easy. I picked one up and read 20 pages decided it was meh and set it down. Picked up another and loving it and looking forward to reading it before bed each night. as noted in my 2021 goal, I’ve also forgone learning vocabulary from reading novels and am just focusing on enjoying it with a dictionary by my side.
  50. 1 point
    Not dumb children, but the training wheel analogy you mentioned is pretty much spot on. Ok, the training wheels might come off for a given character once you've seen it enough times, but then you're still putting them on again to learn new characters. Surely the ideal situation at some point would be to do away with the training wheels altogether, and to do that really requires practicing without them.I agree that mnemonics are a great technique to memorize and connect a large amount of random and unrelated things e.g. numbers, cards etc. However Chinese characters by their nature are not random, and they already have meanings and connections between them. I'm not saying don't visualise, I'm saying why visualise and remember things that are not related. I get this point, and this is really one of my main issues with such systems. These stories eventually fade from memory, so why put in effort to remember something initially whose entire purpose is to be forgotten. It's like taking three steps forward and two steps back, and then being happy that you're still one step ahead. Why not just keep taking one step forward the whole time. As for having characters popping into your head, like I said, it's a trained skill, and if you are comfortable doing visualisation for mnemonics, I believe you would be able to do this too, you just don't realise it yet. If you'll humour me for a moment, here's something you should try: Take the character 土. Spend a few seconds thinking about each stroke that it is made of: a horizontal, a vertical, followed by a horizontal. 一 丨 一. Now close your eyes and imagine one of those big calligraphy brushes drawing those strokes (nice big ones) in order - horizontal, vertical, horizontal 一 十 土. Repeat several times. When you can do that without any effort, then try visualising the strokes being drawn without the brush, horizontal, vertical, horizontal 一 十 土. Repeat several times. When you can do that without any effort, then try visualising each stroke just appearing in order rather than being drawn 一 十 土. Repeat several times. When you can do that without any effort, then try visualising the 十 appearing followed by the bottom 一. 十 土 Repeat several times. When you can do that without any effort, then try visualising the entire character 土 appearing at once. Repeat several times. When you can do that without any effort, congratulations, you can now pop characters instantly into your mind. Granted, it might take a few steps before you can do it, and you might not be able to do it for complicated characters yet, however, because Chinese characters are essentially all built from the same few components, the more you practice, the easier it will get. A quick look at my dictionary tells me that 土 appears in approximately 200 characters, and now that you can pop 土 instantly into view, each of those 200 characters will be slightly simpler. For example, take the character 地. You should already be able to make the 土 part pop instantly into your mind, so first concentrate on 也, repeating the above process until you can make 也 pop instantly into view also. Once you can do that, then practice visualising the character 地 by making each component pop into view one after the other, first 土 then 也, first 土 then 也, do that a few times and you should shortly be able to make 地 appear instantly too. Start small, keep it simple and gradually work your way up to more complicated things. As for creating connections, while you are practicing being able to visualise the character instantly, also visualise the direct meaning of the word - visualise the character, visualise the meaning, visualise the character, visualise the meaning, then visualise them both together. Lather, rinse, repeat, and after a few hundred characters, you'll be able to pop them into view instantly without much trouble at all. At the same time, all your effort will be getting spent on things directly related to the character in question. @realmayo, the difference between writing it out by hand and visualising it in your mind is huge. When you write it by hand over and over, your brain is essentially disconnected from the learning process. After a couple of iterations, it's really just your eyes and hand working together, and your brain day dreaming about something more interesting. It's not involved in the process and so naturally it doesn't remember it well. With visualising, you cannot disconnect your brain from the process, it has to take an active part, going over each character component by component. What you are doing is essentially training your active recall, so of course it sticks. I always break characters down into component parts, and do look for connections between those things, but I'd not associate it with something unrelated to the character at hand. Take a character I learnt recently: 驹 - jū - a young horse. So I would think jū is a young horse, and remember it's going to be the character that looks like 句, but has slightly different pronunciation (jū instead of jù), and has the 马 radical. That took all of about 2 seconds to remember when I first came across it, and it's stuck pretty permanently now without any further effort. Not all characters are so simple however, e.g. another character I learnt recently 斡 wò - spin; revolve. I break it down as 十 早 人 斗, but for me there is nothing to really associate those with either the meaning or the sound, so while I'm visualising the character over and over, I think that wò means spin;revolve, and is made up of the shapes 十 早 人 斗. I don't think of the meaning of those separate components though, or try to think of a story connecting them, I just visualise those shapes making up the character, and after a few repetitions then it sticks. The fact that I can do this now without much effort comes from having trained my active recall using the above method. I agree that the best way to learn a character is to force your brain to remember which components it is comprised of. I believe this is possible to do without stories however. Just keep visualising the character component by component in your mind.As for which method is easier and faster, I guess it all depends. When you first try it, my method may take a bit longer, but later on, I believe the opposite will be true. Like I said, the method I wrote above is the long version that I used at the beginning. After you get good at it, it reduces down to: remember the components, remember the sound, remember the meaning. It doesn't get much faster or easier than that.
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