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如今,美食家们对吃提出了更高的要求。他们不仅要观色、闻香、尝味、赏形,而且还要求食物具有养生方面的特色。我想,家乡的萝卜饼完全具备这几个方面的条件,人们不是常说吗——“鱼生火,肉生痰,青菜萝卜保平安”,养生的功能,让我更加喜爱它了。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 19. I want your opinion about my literal translation of this: “鱼生火,肉生痰,青菜萝卜保平安”

“鱼(fish)生(generates)火(fire),肉(meat)生(generates)痰(phlegm),青菜萝卜(green vegetables and radishes)保(keep)平安(safety and peace)”.

So, what is your opinion? Do I miss something?

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    You need to acquire a basic knowledge of traditional Chinese medicine practices in order to fully understand these terms. 火 does not mean "fire" but an internal high fever symptom (in a dehydrated state); 痰 is related to the blockage of the respiratory system. 保平安 means keep (you) healthy.
    – r13
    Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 0:45
  • It is surprising that such kinds of TCM concept appear in HSK questions, which are generally meant for non-Chinese speaking learners? For native Chinese speakers, concepts such as "fire" or more accurately "body heat" or "body chill", (體寒), are part of general folk medical knowledge they grow up on, much like European folk medical advice -- "Starve the fever, feed the cold" Which is perhaps why the sentence quoted by OP has "...人们不是常说吗...." preceding it. Obviously the "人们" means the Chinese people. Could a non-Chinese HSK candidate make a wild guess and get it right? Commented Dec 16, 2022 at 2:13

2 Answers 2

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This means: Overeating fish will 上火(a kind of symptom of Chinese traditional medicine), overeating meat will cause more phlegm, whereas more green vegetables and radishes are healthy.

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“鱼(fish)生(generates)火(fire),肉(meat)生(generates)痰(phlegm),青菜萝卜(green vegetables and radishes)保(keep)平安(safety and peace)”.

The literal translation you provided is accurate

火(fire) - AKA 熱氣(hot air) here is a Chinese traditional medical concept that suggests some food would cause the eater to have high interbody heat that affects his organs.

鱼生火 suggests too much fish will affect your circulatory organs

肉生痰 is easy to understand, eat a lot of meat and you will have phlegm, which indicates a problem in your respiratory organs

青菜萝卜 is a common expression that serves as a representative of vegetables in general. 青菜萝卜保平安 (vegetables keep you safe) suggests eating more vegetables instead of animal protein is good for your overall health

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