Monday, February 9, 2009

Xie -- As Crabby As I Wanna Be

Crab is one of those things that often pops up on the hand written "specials" menu, often only in Chinese. If you like crab, it's a character to watch for.

All of the parts in the character for crab are specific food related characters:

On the bottom you see "bug" 虫, which is a good name for custaceans, and that's the most important marker for remembering this character. But there's also a mess of characters above this radical.

On the left side is the radical for "horn" 角, which is an important character for crab lovers, since it is a part of the name for Crab Rangoon (which in Chinese is often called "Fried Crab Horns" 油蟹觡). We'll get to that one when we get to appetizers later on.

On the right are two characters. The top is knife 刀, and in the middle is a character you should know: cow or beef 牛.

Between beef and bug, you should be able to pick out crab when you need to. (Also the top kind of has the look of a couple of pokey crab claws.)

The Pinyin spelling is xiè or xie4 (fourth tone).

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