Chow mein

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Scherle

Senior Member
Filipino, and English
Great Morning!

I hear somebody mention about a food chow mein. According to www.merriam-webster.com, it is a seasoned stew of shredded or diced meat, mushrooms, and vegetables that is usually served with fried noodles.

Is there any English translation for that?

Thank you!
 
Last edited:
  • viajero_canjeado

    Senior Member
    English - Southeastern USA
    I believe the English transliteration chow mein comes from the Chinese 炒麵, whose Mandarin pronunciation in pinyin sounds like chao3 mian4 (roughly similar to chow mein, though it could possibly be derived from Cantonese pronunciation, which I don't speak..). 炒麵 literally means pan-fried or stir-fried noodles. I'm stumped as to why the dictionary would describe chow mein as a stew. Um.. does that answer your question?
     

    GamblingCamel

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I believe the English transliteration chow mein comes from the Chinese 炒麵, whose Mandarin pronunciation in pinyin sounds like chao3 mian4 ... 炒麵 literally means pan-fried or stir-fried noodles. I'm stumped as to why the dictionary would describe chow mein as a stew.
    For English speakers 炒 chǎo means "stir fry" -- and 麵 miàn means noodles.

    Leigh: As Viajero pointed out, we usually use "stew" in English to refer to meat dishes that are cooked for a long time.
    By the way, chow mein is a word that is very much part of the English language.
     

    GamblingCamel

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi all,
    Is "chow" also slang for food?
    Is this term popular?
    Interesting question. It's definitely slang for food in the U.S. -- however, I don't know how commonly it's used nowadays by young people.

    According to phrases.org.uk, the phrase "chow down" orginated in the U.S. military around WWII . There are lots of examples on Google for "Let's chow down!"
    Likewise, lots of examples for "Give me some chow!"
     

    strad

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Not surprisingly, the name chow mein comes from 台山話 (the Taishan dialect of Cantonese), as most of the original Chinese immigrants to the USA where from the Taishan area. Also not surprising, 炒麵 is pronounced chow mein (chau1 meing4) in that dialect :)
     
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