Sunday, February 15, 2009

You - Attack of the Squid!

Squid is something that will show up on Chinese-only menus. Sometimes it's just you 魷 by itself and sometimes it's you yu 魷魚 - like "squid fish".

And just to make it more interesting, while you's radical is fish, the right side is also the word you 尤, same tone and everything. That character means "outstanding" or "special". This is one of those cases where it is hard to tell whether squid is considered to be an outstanding fish, or if they just use that character because they sound the same. (And the characters end up meaning "fish outstanding-sounding fish".)

Unless cooked perfectly, squid tends get rubbery, so westerners don't like to eat it. But I have this theory that if you see it on the Chinese-only menu, it's more likely to be cooked right. But I could be wrong. (The key to cooking squid, I hear, is that it should be cooked under two minutes, or over two hours. In the first case it doesn't have time to get tough. In the second it is stewed to tenderness.)

How to remember: well that right side looks kind of squiddy to me. The little legs hanging down and looping up and all.

The Pinyin spelling is yóu or you2 (second tone)

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