Friday, February 27, 2009

Hong You - The Red and The Oil

Red oil, or chili oil, or hot pepper oil, is a common condiment. It's generally sesame oil that has had hot peppers soaked in it until the oil becomes spicy. Because oil tends to cling to your mouth, red oil can give you a spicier experience than the peppers themselves.

The best way to clear your mouth of hot oil is not a cold drink, but rather a mouthful of plain rice. You need something to absorb the oil off your skin. A cold drink will make the oil congeal a little.

How to remember it? I haven't got a memory aide for this one. The left side means thread (we saw a squished version in the Chicken character), and the right means work. While we'll see lots of threads in future, that I-beam on the right is not so common so I mainly remember that. (I think there is one other word that is commonly used in restaurants, but I can't remember it right now.)

I mainly remember it by context. So, if you see that I-beam next to oil, you probably have red oil. Here is a variation on one of my favorite Sichuan appetizers. You know the second two characters from just a couple of days ago:
The Pinyin spelling is hóng or hong2 (second tone).

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