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Chinese Vocabulary about Kitchen Items

Posted by Julia Song on December 27, 2016

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Do you like cooking? What do you usually cook? Do you know how to cook Chinese food? Even if you don’t cook much, if you just moved to China and want to buy some specific kitchen items, here’s a word list. Also, a brief introduction of Chinese sauce and seasonings with explanations is given, which will help you find the ones that you need in the market.

Kitchen items:

Cabinet chú guì 厨柜
Can Opener kāi guàn qì 开罐器
Coffeemaker kāfēi jī 咖啡机
Counter liú lǐ táisi 流理台
Cutting Board qiē cài bǎn 切菜板
Dishwasher xǐ wǎn jī 洗碗机
Drawer chōu tì 抽屉
Electric Mixer diàn dòng jiǎobàn qì 电动搅拌器
Freezer lěng dòng kù 冷冻库
Microwave Oven wēi bō lú 微波炉
Oven kǎo xiāng 烤箱
Pan píng dǐ guō 平底锅
Paper Towels zhǐ jīn 纸巾
Pot guō zǐ 锅子
Refrigerator diàn bīng xiāng 电冰箱
Sink shuǐ cáo 水槽
Stove huǒ lú 火炉
Tea Kettle shāo chá hú 烧茶壶
Toaster kǎo miàn bāo jī 烤面包机

Chinese Sauce and Seasoning:

1. Oil - yóu 油

Normally, Chinese people use rapeseed oil to cook with, which is called 菜油cài yóu. Also, the other kinds of oil that are frequently used in cooking are peanut oil (huāshēng yóu 花生油), olive oil (gǎnlǎn yóu橄榄油), and butter (huángyóu 黄油).

2. Salt - yán 盐

3. Soy sauce - jiàng yóu 酱油

There are two types of soy sauce in China: lǎochōu 老抽and shēngchōu 生抽. The color of the former is dark brown, and it is used to color food and make it fresher; and the latter is a little bit lighter and is more suitable for cold dish.

4. Vinegar - cù 醋

Chinese vinegar has two types: chéncù 陈醋 and báicù白醋. The difference is that chéncù is dark brown and báicù is white.

5. Cooking wine - liàojiǔ/ huángjiǔ 料酒/黄酒

6. Sugar - táng 糖

As for cooking, people mostly use báitáng 白糖, which is common sugar. Yet sometimes for medicinal cuisine, hóngtáng 红糖(brown sugar) and bīngtáng 冰糖 (crystal sugar) are believed to have more beneficial health effects.

7. Spice - làjiāo 辣椒

China is vast and so its cooking. Chinese food is divided into 8 cuisines, among which Sichuan and Hunan cuisines are most famous for being hot and spicy. Since there are many types of spices, I especially want to introduce these two: huājiāo花椒 (prickly ash) and hújiāo 胡椒 (black pepper).

8. Special cooking sauces:

Sweet fermented soybean paste - tiánmiàn jiàng 甜面酱
Soybean paste - dòubàn jiàng 豆瓣酱
Fermented soya beans - dòuchǐ 豆豉
Ketchup - fānqié jiàng 番茄酱
Sesame sauce - zhīmá jiàng 芝麻酱
Salad dressing - shālā jiàng 沙拉酱

9. Starch - diànfěn 淀粉

In Chinese cuisine, especially Shandong Cuisine, starch is often used to thicken soup.

10. Gourmet powder - wèijīng 味精

“Gourmet powder,” monosodium glutamate – a flavor enhancer -- is put into dishes to make the food taste and smell even fresher, but it has been shown to be harmful for your health. So nowadays people use jījīng 鸡精 as an alternative. However, Guangdong chefs believe that either wèijīng or jījīng is good for your health, so they use much more natural oyster sauce (háoyóu 蚝油) to cook with.

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About The Author

Julia Song

Julia Song is a Chinese learning teacher at Hanbridge Mandarin. Julia Song excels at linguistic pedagogy and one-on-one instruction with 8 years teaching experience and her cheerful attitude and close attention to her students' progress make her an excellent Mandarin teacher for students of all levels.

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