Take the 2-minute tour ×
Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

For lunch today in Taipei I found a small street food place near my hostel.

On the menu was this item:

麻油Q米血

Here's a photo of the relevant part of the menu:
menu including "麻油Q米血"

麻油 is sesame oil, 米 is rice, and 血 is blood. But what is Q?

I know English/Latin/Roman alphabet letters are sometimes used in colloquial/casual Chinese, often but not always when there is not a character to represent a word or sound from language besides Mandarin, be it English or another Chinese language.

What does the Q stand for, and what is this dish?

share|improve this question
    
Never seen Q before on a chinese menu, what did it end up being? Eg. The dish –  50-3 Jan 30 at 9:40
    
I didn't order that one in case it might be something icky (-: But I'm uploading a photo of the menu. –  hippietrail Jan 30 at 9:48
1  
If its what I think it is it's sticky pork blood rice cakes 很好吃 but no idea why the Q is there –  50-3 Jan 30 at 9:50
1  
Unless it was an atempt at using an ampersand I'm out –  50-3 Jan 30 at 9:58
1  
Q can have two meaning, cute or 嚼劲. 这个面很Q 就是 这个面很有嚼劲的意思. Sorry, I can't explain 嚼劲 in English –  hrzhu Jan 30 at 11:22

4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Q is Chinese slang for "chewy", similar to al dente in texture. You can see it in example phrases such as "Q感十足" (very chewy). You would expect foods such as tapioca pearls, gelatinous candies, pasta, or rice to be described as "Q".

From my experience, this term is more popular in Taiwan and Hong Kong and less so in the mainland. I have not seen this term in the 90's or before.

I'm not sure where this phrase came from; if I had to venture a guess I would suggest QQ candy, a gummy candy that first appeared in the late 90s which has the same kind of texture.

"Q" originated as a Taiwanese morpheme that has no agreed upon character.

This definition of "Q" is not to be confused with another definition, as a short-hand for "cute".

share|improve this answer
1  
I read somewhere that there are 10 characters for Q and one is pretty much more widely used though since it's dialectal (Hokkien) is not a common character so it's easier to just use Q as a placeholder. –  amateur Feb 2 at 22:33

Q is Hokkien. The character is「食邱」and pronounced ㄎㄧㄨ (kiu, same as "Q").

The Chinese definition is 軟靭 ruǎn rèn (soft and tough) and means the texture of food being chewy.

See the post "Q(k‘iu⊦)──軟靭" on the "taiwanlanguage" blog.

share|improve this answer
    
This is the correct answer. Be aware that Victor Mair from congusbongus' link likes to claim there is "no agreed upon character" for many Taiwanese words that, in fact, has well-established characters. Mair's understanding of Taiwanese is apparently based on seeing street food signs. It is the equivalent of claiming there is no standard spelling of pronoun "you" based on text messages that says "u". –  Semaphore Jun 27 at 12:06
    
Be aware that Semaphore of Stack Exchange likes to claim that published professors of Sinology such as Victor Mair Ph.D. base their understanding of Taiwanese on nothing more than seeing street food signs. It is the equivalent of claiming superiority to people with decades of recognized achievements based on skimming a single blog post. Maybe both are crackpots. Maybe neither are. Investigate some of their works and judge for yourself. –  hippietrail Jun 27 at 14:56
    
@hippietrail I see you still have precisely zero facts whatsoever to back up your argument, apart from an atrociously blatant and fallacious appeal to authority. –  Semaphore Jun 27 at 16:43
    
Whatever your apparent love for Victor Mair (even though you spectacularly failed to read it last time), that is no excuse for intentionally mislead other potential readers into thinking Taiwanese words with well established characters has no written form. –  Semaphore Jun 27 at 16:47
    
I'm just defending somebody who seems to have credentials against an ad hominem from somebody claiming superior knowledge yet appearing to lack credentials. We now have a bizarre emotion based attack now on myself as well as this acknowledged expert in the field. You've established that you have a dislike for him and that your opinion differs. I don't find enough in this to choose either view as the correct answer. –  hippietrail Jun 28 at 6:18

Not sure chewy is the meaning of Q, but my understand is , Q is from cute.

So explain the sample Q感十足 which @congusbongus gave, means very cute.

share|improve this answer

"米血" is glutinous rice in chicken blood. Q is chewy.

BTW, the original characters of "煙韌" is possibly ....

!Original characters of "煙韌"1

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.