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I'm taking a look at the science fiction novelette 北京折叠 (English title: Folding Beijing), wherein we have:

步行街上挤满了刚刚下班的人。拥挤的男人女人围着小摊子挑土特产,大声讨价还价。食客围着塑料桌子,埋头在酸辣粉的热气腾腾中,饿虎扑食一般,白色蒸汽遮住了脸。油炸的香味弥漫。货摊上的酸枣和核桃堆成山,腊肉在头顶摇摆。这个点是全天最热闹的时间,基本都收工了,忙碌了几个小时的人们都赶过来吃一顿饱饭,人声鼎沸。
北京折叠,郝景芳,2016年09月30日

I'm confused about the grammar in 吃一顿饱饭, and in particular, why = "to eat till full / satisfied" is added into 吃一顿饭 = "to eat a meal". It's not clear to me if 饱 is used as an adjective to describe the 饭, or if 饱 is the result of eating (吃ing) and uses some unfamiliar grammar structure.

Question: Why is 饱 in 吃一顿饱饭?

An English translation is not very literal ("everyone was hungry and loud") which doesn't help understand the Chinese.

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The opposite of 吃一顿饱饭 can be:

  • 吃了点稀的 ate porridge only. did not have enough money/food to eat enough
  • 垫垫肚子 ate a little, only to not be called starving
  • 随便吃了点 ate some random things
  • 什么都来不及吃 did not have time to eat

On one hand, 饱 means the dinner is satisfying. On the other hand, the amount is enough to be called a 'dinner'. However, it is strange to call a 饭 as 饱饭, because all 饭 should be 饱饭 if it is a normal situation. Thus, when using the word 饱饭, the situation is not normal: it indicates the existence of the opposite situation: before having a 饱饭, the person must be in one of the opposite situations listed above.

In your situation, that means the workers were too busy to eat during work. But the dinner they have there is satisfying enough to be called a meal.

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饱 as an adverb means "饱足地"(substantially/ satisfactorily); "很大程度地" (to a great degree). e.g. "饱餐一顿" (substantially having a meal); "饱受摧残" (be devastated to a great degree)

饱, as an adjective means 'full',e.g. "我很" (I am full) and it can also mean "使...饱足的" (filling/ satiating)

Example:

吃一顿饭 = eat a meal

吃一顿()饭 = 吃一顿(使人足的)饭 = eat a (filling /satiating) meal

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+100

I believe the grammar structure is:

吃一顿饱饭

verb + quantity + mw + adj + noun

Literally: Eat a full meal.

with 饱 an adjective - full - that modifies the noun 饭 - meal.

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Not so difficult to understand:

人们都赶过来吃一顿饱饭,the people all hurried over to eat their fill.

步行街上挤满了刚刚下班的人。
The pedestrian zone was packed with people who had just got off work,
拥挤的男人女人围着小摊子挑土特产,
throngs of men and women surrounded the little food stalls, choosing local delicacies,
大声讨价还价。
loudly haggling over the price.
食客围着塑料桌子,
Diners round the plastic tables,
埋头在酸辣粉的热气腾腾中,
heads bent over their (bowls of) spicy noodles,
饿虎扑食一般,
like hungry tigers pouncing on their prey,
白色蒸汽遮住了脸。
white steam fogging their faces.
油炸的香味弥漫。
The fragrant smell of deep-fried foods filled the air.
货摊上的酸枣和核桃堆成山,
Mountainous piles of red dates and walnuts filled the stalls,
腊肉在头顶摇摆。
dried meats swung overhead.
这个点是全天最热闹的时间,
This was the busiest time of day,
基本都收工了,
everyone finished their work,
忙碌了几个小时的人们都赶过来吃一顿饱饭,
then they, having been busy for hours, hurried over to eat their fill
人声鼎沸。
(in the) commotion.

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