【英语阅读】纽约时报 | 台湾美食为什么那么“Q”?

台湾美食为什么那么“Q”?
In Italy, ‘Al Dente’ Is Prized. In Taiwan, It’s All About Food That’s ‘Q.’

  • Prized adj.珍贵的,宝贵的 v.珍视,珍惜

NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan — As dusk falls at Lehua Night Market, the fluorescent lights flicker on and the hungry customers start trickling in, anxious for a taste of the local delicacies that give this island its reputation as one of Asia’s finest culinary capitals.
台湾新北市——随着夜幕降临乐华夜市,灯光亮起,饥肠辘辘的客人们三三两两来到这里,急于吃到让这个岛屿享有亚洲最佳美食之城的当地美食。

  • fluorescent adj.荧光的;发亮的 n.荧光;日光灯
  • flicker on 闪烁在
  • trickling in 鱼贯而来;渐渐地到来
  • anxious adj.焦虑的;担忧的;渴望的
  • reputation n.名声,名誉;声望
  • culinary adj.烹饪的;食物的
  • capitals n.首都 adj.首都的;重要的;大写的

Neatly arranged pyramids of plump fish balls. Bowls brimming with tapioca balls bathed in lightly sweetened syrup. Sizzling oyster omelets, hot off the griddle. Deep-fried sweet potato puffs, still dripping with oil.
整齐码成小山的饱满鱼丸。一碗碗淋着略带甜味糖浆的凉圆。刚从铁板上下来,咝咝作响的蚵仔煎。还滴着热油的炸地瓜球。

  • Neatly adv.整齐地;熟练地;灵巧地
  • pyramids n.金字塔;椎体
  • plump adj.饱满的;胖乎乎的 v.使饱满而柔软;变园;长胖
  • brimming adj.盈满的;满溢的
  • tapioca n.树薯粉;木薯淀粉
  • lightly adv.轻轻地;轻松地;容易地;不费力地
  • sweetened vt.减轻;使变甜;使温和;使悦耳 vi.变甜
  • syrup n.糖浆,果汁;含药糖浆
  • Sizzling adj.极热的,酷热的;热烈的,激情迸发的 v.发滋滋声
  • oyster n. 牡蛎,蚝;沉默寡言的人
  • omelets n.煎蛋卷;炒鸡蛋;鸡蛋烧
  • griddle n.矿筛;煎饼用浅锅 vt.筛 vi.用锅煎
  • puffs n.一阵;喘息 v.吹气;喘息

Take a bite of any of these dishes and you’ll discover a unique texture. But how exactly do you describe that perfectly calibrated “mouth feel” so sought after by local cooks and eaters alike?
随便尝一口这些小吃,你都会发现它们有着一种别具一格的口感。但你该如何形容那种经过精心调配,令当地厨师和食客们趋之若鹜的“口感”呢?

  • texture n.质地;纹理;结构;本质,实质
  • describe vt.描述,形容;描述
  • calibrated v.校准;标定;调整;测定口径

Slippery? Chewy? Globby? Not exactly the most flattering adjectives in the culinary world.
滑溜?有嚼劲?黏糊?这些可算不上是美食界最好听的形容。

  • Slippery adj.滑的;狡猾的;不稳定的
  • Chewy adj.柔软而会黏着的;难嚼的;有嚼劲的
  • Globby 果冻奇侠?应该是比喻
  • flattering adj.奉承的;谄媚的
  • adjectives adj.形容词的;从属的 n.形容词

Luckily, the Taiwanese have a word for this texture. Well, actually, it’s not a word, it’s a letter — one that even non-Chinese speakers can pronounce.
幸运的是,台湾人有一个词来形容这种口感。其实,也不是词语,而是个字母——就连不讲中文的人也能说出它。

  • pronounce vt.发音;宣判;断言 vi.发音;作出判断

It’s “Q.”
那就是“Q”。

“It’s difficult to explain what Q means exactly,” said Liu Yen-ling, a manager at Chun Shui Tang, a popular teahouse chain that claims to have invented tapioca milk tea in Taiwan. “Basically it means springy, soft, elastic.”
“很难解释Q到底是什么意思,”人气连锁茶饮品牌、号称台湾珍珠奶茶发明者的春水堂的经理刘叶玲(音)说。“基本上,它是弹牙、软糯的意思。”

  • teahouse n.茶馆;茶室
  • tapioca milk tea 珍珠奶茶
  • springy adj.有弹力的
  • elastic adj.有弹性的;灵活的;易伸缩的 n.松紧带;橡皮圈

Q texture is to Taiwanese what umami is to Japanese and al dente is to Italians — that is, cherished and essential. Around Taiwan, the letter Q can often be glimpsed amid a jumble of Chinese characters on shop signs and food packages and in convenience stores and advertisements.
“Q”的口感之于台湾人,就等于“umami”(鲜)之于日本人,“al dente”(有嚼劲)之于意大利人——备受珍视,也必不可少。在台湾各地,可以在店铺招牌和便利店、广告的食物包装中的一堆中国字里瞥见“Q”这个字母。

  • cherished vt.珍爱;怀有;抱有
  • essential adj.基本的;必要的;本质的;精华的 n.本质;要素;要点;必需品
  • jumble n.混乱;杂乱的一堆东西 vi.混乱;杂乱 vt.使混乱;搞乱
  • convenience n.便利;厕所;便利的东西

The texture is found in both savory and sweet foods, and is most often used to describe foods that contain some kind of starch like noodles, tapioca pearls and fish balls. If something is really chewy or extra Q, then it could be called QQ. Often, Q and QQ are used interchangeably.
在甜食和非甜食中都能找到这种口感,并且它往往被用来形容如面条、珍珠和鱼丸等某种带有淀粉的食物。如果某种食物特别有嚼劲,或是特别“Q”,就会被说“QQ”。“Q”和“QQ”可以互换。

  • savory adj.可口的;风味极佳的;味美的 n.开胃菜;香薄荷
  • starch n.淀粉;刻板,生硬 vt.给…上浆
  • pearls n.珍珠 v.用珍珠镶嵌;使…呈珍珠色泽
  • interchangeably adv.可交换地

“You can tell if bubble milk tea is good based on how Q the tapioca pearls are,” Mr. Liu said. “If the texture is perfect, it can be very satisfying.”
“根据珍珠有多Q,你能分辨出珍珠奶茶好不好”,刘叶玲说,“如果口感完美,那会让人很满足。”

André Chiang, a Michelin-star chef and owner of RAWin Taipei, said he had recently been experimenting with the texture at his restaurant, which uses only locally sourced Taiwanese ingredients.
米其林星级主厨、台北RAW餐厅主人江振诚表示,他最近在自己的餐馆里探索这种口感,他的餐厅只使用来自台湾本土的原材料。

  • ingredients n.原料;要素;组成部分 adj.构成组成部分的

One dish he was trying out for the restaurant’s new menu featured langoustine, burned onion juice and white tapioca pearls that are cooked to bubbly Q perfection.
他正在为自己餐厅的新菜单尝试的一道菜有小龙虾、烧洋葱汁和一颗颗烹制到完美Q弹的白色珍珠。

  • featured adj.特定的;被作为特色的 v.使有特色;起重要作用
  • langoustine n.海鳌虾

“It’s like al dente but not quite,” Mr. Chiang said. “It’s to the tooth but there’s also that added element of bounciness.”
“有点像是‘al dente’,但又不完全一样,”江振诚说。“它有嚼劲,但还多了一种带有弹牙的元素。”

  • bounciness adj.有弹性的;快活的;精神饱满的;自大的

Q is so well established in Taiwan that many in Hong Kong and over the strait in mainland China use the term as well.
“Q”在台湾如此常用,以至于香港和海峡对岸大陆的许多人也开始使用这个说法。

  • strait n.海峡,水道;经济上的困境,窘迫 adj.狭窄的;严格的,精确的;苦恼的

Elsewhere in Asia, it is a familiar texture, though the term itself may not be used. Tteok-bokki, a Korean stir-fried rice cake, and mochi, a Japanese rice cake, for example, could also be considered Q. In Western cuisine, the texture is less commonly found, though one could describe foods like gummy bears and certain kinds of pasta as Q.
在亚洲其他地方,人们对这种口感也毫不陌生,虽然可能不会用“Q”来形容。比如韩国炒年糕和日本麻糬也可以用“Q”形容。在西式菜肴中,这种口感就不那么常见了,尽管你可以形容小熊软糖和某些意大利面“Q”。

  • Tteok-bokki 炒年糕(韩国美食)
  • mochi 糯米团
  • cuisine n.烹饪,烹调法
  • gummy bears 小熊软糖
  • pasta n.意大利面;面团

The origins of the term Q are unclear. Some say it comes from the Taiwanese Hokkien word k’iu. Say Q to an elderly Taiwanese, and chances are he or she will know the term. But no one can quite explain how and when the 17th letter of the English alphabet became shorthand for describing the texture of tapioca balls and gummy candies.
“Q”这个说法的来源不得而知。有人说它源于闽南话里的“k’iu”。如果对上了年纪的台湾人说“Q”,他/她很可能会知道这个说法。但没人能明白解释这个英语字母表里的第17个字母是如何、何时成为了形容珍珠和软糖口感的简称的。

  • elderly adj.上了年纪的;年长的
  • alphabet n.字母表,字母系统;入门;初步
  • shorthand n.速记;速记法 adj.速记法的

With the rapid proliferation of bubble milk tea shops and other Asian snack shops across the United States over the years, there has emerged a broader appreciation for this once “exotic” texture, even if the vocabulary to describe that texture has not exactly caught up.
随着近年来,珍珠奶茶店和其他亚洲小吃店在美国迅速遍地开花,人们已经对这种一度令人觉得“奇异”口感有了更广泛的喜爱,即便是形容这种口感的说法还没能流行起来。

  • rapid adj.迅速的;急促的;飞快的 n.急流;高速交通工具
  • proliferation n.增殖,扩散;分芽繁殖
  • snack n.小吃, 点心;快餐;易办到的事
  • emerged vi.浮现;摆脱;暴露
  • appreciation n.欣赏,鉴别;增值;感谢
  • exotic adj.异国的;外来的;异国情调的
  • vocabulary n.词汇;词表;词汇量
  • caught up v.抓住,捉起

“Most of my American friends like bubble milk tea,” said Tina Fong, a co-founder of Taipei Eats, which offers food tours around the city. “But when there’s Q texture in a savory dish, it can still be a bit strange to them. It really depends on the person.”
“我的大多数美国朋友都喜欢珍珠奶茶,”提供台北市美食游的Taipei Eats的共同创始人蒂娜·方(Tina Fong)说。“但当美食里有Q的口感时,对他们来说还是有点奇怪。取决于个人。”

When it comes to the Chinese language, the letter Q is surprisingly versatile, and not used only to describe food. For example, many in China and Taiwan are familiar with 阿Q, or Ah Q, the protagonist of one of China’s most famous novellas by the writer Lu Xun.
在中文里,“Q”这个字母令人惊讶地适用于各种情况,不仅限于用来形容事物。比如,中国和台湾的许多人都很熟悉作家鲁迅所写的中国最为著名的中篇小说之一里的主角“阿Q”。

  • versatile adj.多才多艺的;通用的;万能的;多面手的
  • protagonist n.主角,主演;主要人物
  • novellas 中篇小说

After the publication of “The True Story of Ah Q” in the early 1920s, Ah Q became a symbol of the backwardness of Chinese culture. While the story’s narrator confesses to not knowing the origin of Ah Q’s name, some scholars say Lu Xun may have chosen Q as an implicit reference to its homonym queue, or the bra ided ponytail that Chinese men were forced to wear to show their subjugation to the ruling Qing dynasty.
《阿Q正传》于1920年代初出版后,阿Q成为了中国文化落后的象征。尽管讲述这个故事的人坦诚并不知道阿Q这个名字的由来,但一些学者表示,鲁迅之所以选择“Q”,可能是因为它与是“辫子”的英文同音,当时中国男子被迫留头发编辫子,以显示对统治的清朝的服从。

  • backwardness n.落后;迟疑;畏缩;腼腆
  • narrator n.叙述者;解说员
  • implicit adj.含蓄的;暗示的;盲从的
  • homonym n.同音异议词
  • queue n.队列;长队;辫子 vi.排队;排队等候
  • ponytail n.马尾辫
  • subjugation n.征服;镇压;克制
  • ruling n.裁定;统治,支配 adj.统治的,支配的;主导的;流行的
  • dynasty n.王朝,朝代

Some have also interpreted Lu Xun’s Q as a pictogram of a head with a pigtail.
一些人则将鲁迅的“Q”解读为一个带着辫子的脑袋。

  • interpreted vt.说明;口误 vt.解释;翻译
  • pictogram n.象形图
  • pigtail n.猪尾;辫子

There are many other uses for the term Q in Chinese as well. It could be used, for example, as shorthand for the English word cute, or to refer to the once-popular QQ messaging service from Tencent or the QQ minicar model from the Chinese carmaker Chery.
中文里对“Q”也有许多其他用法。比如,它可被用于英文“cute”(可爱)的缩写,或是可用于指一度流行的腾讯消息服务QQ,或是中国汽车制造商奇瑞的微型轿车。

  • once-popular 曾经流行一时的
  • carmaker n.汽车制造商

“Whether Q may be considered a Chinese character or not, it certainly has become a part of the Chinese writing system,” Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese language at the University of Pennsylvania, once wrote in a blog post.
“无论Q是否被视为中文字,它肯定已经成了中文书写系统的一部分,”宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)中文教授梅维恒(Victor Mair)曾在一篇博客文章中写道。

Among Taiwanese, the appreciation for Q texture starts at a young age. On a recent sticky evening at Lehua Night Market, crowds ambled through the carnival-like pedestrian street, which was lined on both sides with vendors hawking things like hats, cellphone cases and, of course, delicious snacks.
在台湾人中,对Q这个口感的喜爱从很小的时候就开始了。近日在乐华夜市一个炎热的夏日夜晚,人群在像是嘉年华一般的人行道上漫步,道路两边都有着兜售帽子、手机壳,当然还有美味小吃。

  • appreciation n.欣赏,鉴别;增值;感谢
  • sticky adj.粘的;粘性的
  • crowds n.人群;大众;一堆 v.聚集;涌向;推搡
  • ambled vi.缓行;从容漫步 n.缓行步态;漫步
  • carnival-like 狂欢节,嘉年华
  • pedestrian adj.徒步的;缺乏想象力的 n.行人;步行者
  • vendors n.供应商,销售商

A gaggle of mini revelers zeroed in on a stand with a neon sign that read “QQ popsicles.” Asked why Q texture was so appealing to Taiwanese, Lu Wei-chen, the owner of the stand, smiled as she handed a bright red jelly bar to a delighted toddler.
一小群人欢闹着慢慢走向一个写着“寒天Q棒”霓虹招牌的小摊。当被问到为何Q的口感如此吸引台湾人时,小摊老板卢卫晨(音)满面笑容地将一支红色胶状冰棒递给一个开心的小孩。

  • gaggle n.一群;鹅叫;咯咯声 vi.嘎嘎叫
  • revelers vi.狂欢;陶醉 n.狂欢;闹市
  • neon n.霓虹灯; 氖(10号元素)
  • popsicles 冰棒
  • appealing adj.吸引人的;动人的;引起兴趣的;恳求似的 v.恳求;将…上诉
  • jelly n.果冻;胶状物 vi.成胶状 vt.使冻结
  • delighted adj.高兴的;令人愉快的;乐意的 v.使高兴,愉快
  • toddler n.学步的小孩;幼童装

“It’s simple,” she said. “When you eat it, you will be in a good mood.”
“很简单,”她说。“你吃的时候心情就很好。”


原文来自田间小站

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