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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?

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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
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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
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Unless it was an atempt at using an ampersand I'm out –  50-3 Jan 30 at 9:58
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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
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3 Answers

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".

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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
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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.

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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.

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