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See the attached Chinese menu. Why L4 is called 青椒牛 instead of 青椒牛肉? I think 牛 means the animal cow (or ox?) and 牛肉 means beef.

Similarly, why 芥蓝鸡 instead of 芥蓝鸡肉?

  • just another case of Chinese predilection for omission and abbreviation, whenever possible – user6065 Jan 16 at 23:22
  • Only the restaurant staffs would call '青椒炒牛肉' as '青椒牛' (restaurant short hand). as of 芥蓝鸡, it should be 芥兰鸡(片)(球)(柳) – Tang Ho Jan 17 at 1:34
  • @TangHo, thank you! What is the difference between 芥蓝 and 芥兰? – Zuriel Jan 17 at 3:36
  • @Zuriel "芥兰" is the correct simplified character of "芥蘭"(Chinese broccoli/ Kale) ; 蓝 is the simplified version of 藍(blue), which is the wrong character for "蘭" in "芥蘭" – Tang Ho Jan 17 at 4:03
  • I said "only the restaurant staffs would call '青椒炒牛肉' as '青椒牛', however, if someone work in a restaurant and go dinning in other restaurant, it is possible that he would use the restaurant shorthand, even he's not the staff of that restaurant. Also, some people might just like to copy what the restaurant staffs say. – Tang Ho Jan 17 at 4:12
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I am not sure how it sounds to Cantonese ears or Chinese-speaking population outside China, but in Mandarin spoken in mainland China, 青椒牛 is absolutely weird, and sounds like the cow is cooked in whole (uncut).

However this usage is extremely common in Chinese restaurants in the US. I heard it's similar in other English speaking countries. No idea why it evolved like that.

Aside from the improper omission of the meat form (肉/丝/片/etc.), the lack of cooking method (炒/烧/烩/etc.) also sounds off. In mainland China even in very casual spoken language, those words are included out of habit. It will actually take effort to omit them.

  • If the omission of the meat form is improper, how does 青椒牛丝 or 青椒牛片 sound? – Zuriel Jan 17 at 6:12
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    @Zuriel 牛丝 and 牛片 are non-words, they are commonly called 牛肉丝 or 牛肉片. 青椒牛肉丝 and 青椒牛肉片 sound native. – NS.X. Jan 17 at 6:17
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I suppose this menu from America-Chinese restaurant,cause it's just like translate by google,I traveled a few major cities in China,none of restaurant menu like this one,considering a few restaurant owner don't know english very well,maybe they just chose the easy way to print it.

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