Hokkien words in Thai

Discussions on the Hokkien (Minnan) language.
niuc
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Location: Singapore

Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby niuc » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:47 pm

Hi Sim, Andrew, Ah-bin

Glad to read postings here about interesting experiences! :mrgreen:

Sim, it seems that we have the same types of beehoon (normal & extra thin). The one used in Singapore laksa is 'chor1-bi2-hun2', at least double the "normal" one. I have never found the thick type in Bagan or Jakarta.

For intrusive -i, yes, it is only when the next syllable starts with a vowel, but the reverse is not always true (i.e. not always there is "-i" added). For me it does smoothen the pronunciation, yet it is not a clear rule, but more like a "legacy".

I don't know what is "si" in "si-ham". It is only "ham1" in my variant. I used to dislike it too, but nowadays I can enjoy it, though not too much. Generally I kind of like innards, but not chicken feet, nor any fat (either lumps or fried). I like chicken brain (sorry if this sounds so gross to you :lol: ) but I dare not try pig or mammal's brain. I once ate pig's heart cooked with herbal tonic (tim7-por2 燉補), it tasted like chicken heart but much bigger, and I was a bit wary as the shape/size reminded me of human's. :roll: I like certain sashimi (esp. salmon & swordfish) but not really raw oysters. Japanese even have horse sashimi, sounds repugnant to me.

About food, actually Singaporeans also say that Malaysian (and I will include Indonesian) versions usually taste better. I think that's because Singapore versions usually have less salt/sugar/msg etc. Indonesians usually do not shy away from msg (bi7-cing1 味精).

Ah-bin, in my variant we call it 'chau3-ta1-phi2' or 'chau3-ta1-png7'. 'phi2' is crust, used also for crusts on skin.

SimL
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby SimL » Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:57 am

Hi niuc,

I like certain sashimi (esp. salmon & swordfish) but not really raw oysters.

I had raw oysters *once* because my Dad had learned to love them when he moved to Australia. The smell alone put me off for years, but finally (once, after some persuasion from my father), I ordered some at a restaurant. I found them so vile that I nearly threw up, and I felt quite unwell for the rest of the meal. I've never tried again, though I still *love* "o5-cien1" :mrgreen:

About food, actually Singaporeans also say that Malaysian (and I will include Indonesian) versions usually taste better. I think that's because Singapore versions usually have less salt/sugar/msg etc.

My private theory is that it's because Singapore is "too clean" :mrgreen:. [Don't get me wrong - I love the high standard of hygiene there, and the fact that one doesn't have to worry about getting diarrhoea when eating at hawker stalls - it's just that all that antisepticness makes the food taste bland :shock: (IMHO).]

Ah-bin
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby Ah-bin » Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:22 pm

I learnt a nice expression from a book "la-sam chiah, la-sam pui" = "eat dirtily, get fat dirtily" but I think the hygiene in Penang hawker stalls has no problem. It's the aeroplane food that gives me a bellyache when I get back, not the hawker food, perhaps I am lucky?

AndrewAndrew
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby AndrewAndrew » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:16 pm

I find much Singapore food terrible - the chha-koe-tiau is sweet, the bah-kut-tE is just peppery water, etc. We always laugh when Singaporeans say some or other Nyonya restaurant is good when the food is actually inedible! I guess every Penangite grows up as a professional food critic - that's what makes our food good, because people will travel for miles to go to their favourite hawker stall, and they won't hesitate to scold the hawker if he cuts corners. As soon as they set up shop in KL or Singapore the standard drops, because the clientele just aren't as critical.

SimL
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby SimL » Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:40 pm

the bah-kut-tE is just peppery water

Oh, the very very worst bah-kut-tE I ever had in my life was in one of those amazingly clean Singaporean food-centres. The single staff person working there was absolutely horrible too. She absolutely refused to respond in English, even though I wasn't able to understand what she was saying in Mandarin (I was asking something quite complex, about whether my mother could bring something she had bought at the next stall and eat it with me in the bah-kut-tE stall). She wouldn't even look at me, but just stared straight ahead, talking to the air in Mandarin! Normally I would have just walked out, but I hadn't had bah-kut-tE for over 5 years, and we were only one night in Singapore, and this was the place we were eating...

niuc
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby niuc » Fri Oct 22, 2010 8:33 pm

Sim, what do you mean by antisepticness? Because the meat/vege are washed in water that contain antiseptic? It is true that Singaporean food is usually bland, but I have quite gotten used to it, anyway I usually eat spicy food (or adding chilli -> we call it 'huan1-cio1', others usually 'hiam1-cio1') and 'ciu3-ching1' (light soy sauce) to make it saltier. :mrgreen:

We also have the saying 'la4-sap4-cia8, la4-sap4-pui5', la7-sam5 in my variant is a noun (dirt/filth), la4-sap4 is the adjective/adverb (dirty/-ly). If we get use to healthier food, usually we get digestion problem (e.g. diarrhea) when we eat e.g. street food in Jakarta. Several Singaporeans who went to India for business trips (not together) told me they got sick and diarrhea, even when they ate only in restaurants and drink mineral water. One said it most probably due to the ice (in that hotel made from cooked water) but washed in tap water before served.

I agree about Singapore kwetiau, I don't like it either... I think Johor or KL got the same style, right? Bagan 'ker2-tiau5' is reddish due to chilli and has shrimps instead of cockles. Bagan style of cooking is much influenced by Nyonya style, as we have many spicy dishes beside the more traditional Chinese ones. "o5-cien1"/'o5-a8 cian1' is rare in Bagan but very common in Singapore. I find it nice but I like 'ham1-ker2' (similar but using cockles, more starch beside egg, plus vege & tau7-ge5) more. I have never found it in Singapore, only when my mom cooks it here.

In Singapore there are several types of "bakkutteh", from very dark to normal to the peppery type. I only found the peppery type here and so far I like it, may be because I like pepper and garlic. Bagan variant is not too dark and more herbal.

SimL
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby SimL » Sat Oct 23, 2010 1:36 am

Sim, what do you mean by antisepticness? Because the meat/vege are washed in water that contain antiseptic?

Hehe! No, niuc. I only intended the word metaphorically, in the sense of "so-clean-that-it-doesn't-have-any-taste". :mrgreen:

In Singapore there are several types of "bakkutteh", from very dark to normal to the peppery type. I only found the peppery type here

I don't quite follow this niuc... Where does "here" at the end of the quote refer to...?

In Singapore there are several types of "bakkutteh", from very dark to normal to the peppery type.

I *think* I like the very herbally ones, but it's been so many years since I had any that my tastes may have changed. While transitting in KL International Airport on the way to visiting my parents in Australia I found packaged forms (just the herbal mix, which you're meant to add to fresh chicken), and bought a couple, but when my mother cooked them up, they weren't anything like my memory of bah-kut-tE from earlier days.

amhoanna
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby amhoanna » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:49 pm

Si-ham... Is it sīⁿham? Sīⁿ for salted?

Here in TW, I've heard "lahsap cia̍h, lahsap toā".

Ô'ácian is a staple for me. Seems that the Amoy version is pretty different from the Taiwanese version. I haven't had the chance to taste the Lâm'iûⁿ versions. In TW there are also fried ô'á cakes called ôte and ô'áso͘. Can't say for sure if these are one and the same. The Teochews have ô'ápiáⁿ and ôloa̍k 蠔烙. These last four are a bit oily for me. Maybe I should look for them in SG. :mrgreen:

SimL
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby SimL » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:51 pm

Hi amhoanna,

No, the "si" is definitely not "siN7". It's sandhi-tone is "si1", and there is no nasal. (Besides which, they are called "si-ham" even when they are alive and in the sea :mrgreen:). I had a fairly long chat with my parents on the weekend, and there's quite a bit of feedback on various issues, but I haven't got time to post them at the moment. Just briefly, on the "si-ham" mystery, they both said that they think it's a "new" term. They speculate that it's from Cantonese, because in their youth (say up to 1940), it was - like with niuc and you - only ever called "ham1". The "si" only got added later.

Anyone speak good Cantonese and able to hazard a guess at what this "si" might be, *if* it comes from Cantonese?

AndrewAndrew
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby AndrewAndrew » Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:05 am

amhoanna wrote:Si-ham... Is it sīⁿham? Sīⁿ for salted?

Here in TW, I've heard "lahsap cia̍h, lahsap toā".

Ô'ácian is a staple for me. Seems that the Amoy version is pretty different from the Taiwanese version. I haven't had the chance to taste the Lâm'iûⁿ versions. In TW there are also fried ô'á cakes called ôte and ô'áso͘. Can't say for sure if these are one and the same. The Teochews have ô'ápiáⁿ and ôloa̍k 蠔烙. These last four are a bit oily for me. Maybe I should look for them in SG. :mrgreen:


I had a look at the o-chien videos on YouTube, from Penang and Taiwan. Haven't tried the Amoy or Taiwan versions, but some of the Taiwanese versions look a bit weird to me - lots of vegetables and no chilli sauce!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLhYoalkROM&feature=related

The video of the o-chien seller at Carnarvon St makes my mouth water - very crisp and phang but oh so oily!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzZtYQbn9vk

The Singapore o-loak looks very similar to the Penang o-chien:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coFOwfEk4rw

niuc
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby niuc » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:22 am

Hi Sim

SimL wrote:
In Singapore there are several types of "bakkutteh", from very dark to normal to the peppery type. I only found the peppery type here

I don't quite follow this niuc... Where does "here" at the end of the quote refer to...?

Sorry for the bad sentence... I meant I only came to know the peppery type in Singapore.

... (just the herbal mix, which you're meant to add to fresh chicken)...

Chicken? I thought only 'ba4-kut4' used... :mrgreen:

SimL
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby SimL » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:05 am

Hi Andrew,

Thanks a lot for finding these 3 great clips! They contrast the subtle differences in 3 ways of making o-cien: Taiwanese, Penang and Singapore.

Indeed, I agree with all your sentiments.

1. My heart sort of "cringed" as the sight of the amount of oil in the Penang version. When my parents cook it at home nowadays, we do it in a non-stick pan, which means hardly any oil needs to be used. One consequence of that is that it doesn't do the "burnt edges" as nicely as in the "traditional" way of doing it, and we hence miss out on that particular flavour (or have less of it, in any case). Worth it, for cutting down on the oil, IMHO.

2. I too found it strange to have vegetable in it, the way they do in Taiwan. I guess this shows how much people tend to cling to the things they know from their childhood... :mrgreen:.

3. Yes, for me, chilli sauce is indispensible too (but I only add it while eating, not while cooking).

In the Penang clip, it's nice to hear some Hokkien being spoken by the guy doing the filming. I gather it's a local who was doing a favour for a European visitor, by filming the cooking process for him. (I can't quite work out why the European didn't do the filming himself...). At 0:44 the guy doing the filming says (roughly, as far as I can make out): "wa hip hi(-e) ang-mO khuaN e. ang-mO kio wa hip, tuiN-khi la u-o. i gia tuiN-khi hO i-e peng-iu khuaN." (= "I'm filming this while the white guy's watching. The white guy asked me film it, (when he) gets home, it'll be there (recorded). He wants to take it home to show his friends.") The general meaning is clear, but it doesn't make complete sense either grammatically or semantically, so perhaps I'm mishearing some of it, particularly the middle line with the "tuiN-khi la u-o" (a sort of question). Also, is it *sauce* that the guy adds at the 3 or 4 o'clock position on the wok, towards the end (at about 4:58)? When my parents cook it at home, we only have eggs, oyster, and starch (and some soy for saltiness) - we don't add any strong "sauce" at all, whereas all the 3 versions seem to add some form of sauce (the Singaporean version has fish oil and Chinese wine, totally unknown to me in o-cien).

The Singapore version was strange to me because the starch and eggs were cooked separately from the oysters, and the two are only mixed together at the end. In our family, the oysters are added as soon as the starch and eggs start to congeal, long before it is cooked. IMHO this enables the flavour of the egg - as it's cooking - to enter the oyster (*and* vice versa), so that there is a rich blend of both tastes in the entire dish. Cooking both separately until done, and then mixing them seems to prevent this from happening, which I think is a pity. Also, from a texture point of view, (IMHO) the "gooey-ness" of the starch is meant to "flow" into the "gooey-ness" of the oysters, which certainly happens if you mix them together as they are cooking, but which won't happen if you only mix them together at the end. [Though I re-watched the Penang one, and he doesn't do that either, so perhaps this is a modification done only in our family. The Taiwanese version has them cooked together, earlier in the process.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FJB7ZqtY_A&feature=related cooks them separately as well.

PS. Agonizing for me to watch, as I can't get good fresh oysters here! :shock:
Last edited by SimL on Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:33 am, edited 3 times in total.

SimL
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby SimL » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:10 am

niuc wrote:Hi Sim

SimL wrote:
In Singapore there are several types of "bakkutteh", from very dark to normal to the peppery type. I only found the peppery type here

I don't quite follow this niuc... Where does "here" at the end of the quote refer to...?

Sorry for the bad sentence... I meant I only came to know the peppery type in Singapore.

Ah, right. Makes perfect sense once you explained it! Thanks.

... (just the herbal mix, which you're meant to add to fresh chicken)...

Chicken? I thought only 'ba4-kut4' used... :mrgreen:

Oh, you're perfectly right. I think my mother used chicken because my Dad objects to the fat in pork ribs. Perhaps *that's* why it didn't taste so good...

amhoanna
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby amhoanna » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:08 am

Ta̍kgê hó! I've been busy and I've "fallen behind", forum-wise.

I don't speak good Cantonese, but look what I found on Sheik's CantoDict:
http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/dictionary/characters/3154/

si1-ham1 (short a) = 螄蚶 = cockles

There are lots of 螄蚶 images on Google:
http://www.google.com.br/images?hl=pt-br&q=%E8%9E%84%E8%9A%B6&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&biw=1296&bih=590

Are these one and the same as PgHK siham?

Back to ô'á. Here are some fotos I took in Amoy last spring (with some other Amoy and Lionghai fotos in the same album):

http://liet8coa.pixnet.net/album/photo/150074659#pictop
http://liet8coa.pixnet.net/album/photo/150074643#pictop
http://liet8coa.pixnet.net/album/photo/150074687#pictop

The vendor's sign said 海蠣煎. I'm *guessing* the local word for it would be ô'ácian, but Amoy is "intensely unlocal" at this pt. :P The Mandarinization of ô'ácian reminds me of ordering ô'ácian in L.A. Most of the time the cashier would turn around and say in Mandarin, "Yī ge kēzǎijiān!" ... b/c they were non-Hoklo but Chinese. ... The Mandarin word "mǔlì" just always cracks me up! :lol: Anyway, I think (some of) you guys are lucky that your parents made ô'ácian at home. I don't think I ever had one till I was 20! For me, a proper TW ô'ácian needs to use tâng'o——not lettuce! Bean sprouts are a nice touch, but really rare. With bean sprouts, the dish starts to remind me of Vietnamese bánh xèo. "Thâukeniû, kám ēsái lām tāmpo̍h'á káucânthap?" :mrgreen:

amhoanna
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Re: Hokkien words in Thai

Postby amhoanna » Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:25 am

On the topic of cross-flow and Canto-Hokkien food terms. A while back my friends had a guest from HK. They took her all around Tâilâm on the "must-do" Tâilâm food trek. I went too. So we get to the oáⁿkoé 碗粿 place. She asks (in Mand), "What are we gonna eat here?" And my friends just said, "Oáⁿkoé", b/c the word has been loaned into TW Mandarin, complete with the nasal vowel. Nobody would ever say wan3 guo3. But our guest didn't know much about Hoklo. She was like, "Huh?" Then I pronounced 碗粿 in Canto for her and she was like, "Oh, yeah, I read about those in my guidebook." :lol:

If you didn't find this kind of funny, then please pardon my "provincial humor".


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