Hello! I always order any Chinese food in the states "without water chestnuts" and I was wondering if anyone could help me with a translation were I to ask for say, fried rice "hold the water chestnuts" when going to China. Thanks so much!
bababardwanFebruary 19, 2011, 12:30 AM
hehe, "hold the water chestnuts" is a good example of how a literal translation could be funny. "拿荸荠”..Ohh Kaaay...and then just stand here holding them?
I'd be inclined to just keep it simple and say something like 我不要荸荠..and maybe when your dish came you could perhaps confirm with 没有荸荠对吧？
I'm interested in the use of 加 in this context. Obviously it means "to add" and the example you've given means you don't want any water chestnuts added. I would think this would make it clear you don't want any water chestnuts in your meal, but just for those with food allergies I'd like to clarify that there's no room for ambiguity here if I may. Let's say for argument sake we have a standard dish that always has water chestnuts in it, and lets say that there are some folk who frequent the restaurant who are just mad on these water chestnuts and always ask for extra over and above the usual amount of water chestnuts in the dish. If you unsuspecting traveler comes along and says 不要加荸荠 is there any risk this could be interpreted that he just doesn't want any extra like the folk at the next table, but will receive the dish with the standard amount of water chestnuts?
Hi baba, I love your scenario!
First, the disclaimer; if anyone is allergic to something, please, whatever you do, don’t place your health in the hands of my Chinese! But I’m interested in this too - hopefully someone more knowledgeable can confirm or correct.
I've been trying to follow some Chinese recipes (with varying success) recently and have noticed that 加 is often used to indicate "add to the pan", so I'd guess 不要加荸荠 would just mean "don't add any water chestnuts". I think if you wanted extra you could say 多加荸荠。I think you could also use the verb 放 in this situation (also comes up a lot in the recipes) as well - 不要放荸荠 or to be extra sure 千万不要放荸荠。
thanks mate. I agree with all your examples...very good and I think you are likely right. It would be nice to have a native speaker or teacher confirm there's no room for ambiguity here as this is such an important area to get right.
Well, you didn't get your native speaker or teacher confirming/denying so I'll give this a kick by giving my take. I have a 100% gluten free diet and I usually ensure clarity by asking the same question two or three times (certainly if I have suspicions); I usually say 我不要荸荠 (or 酱油/面粉etc. in my case) and this is 99.9% of the time quite sufficient. Sometimes I say 不放酱油，but not 不要加酱油, even though as toianw points out 加 is commonly used in recipes. I think it would be fine (it doesn't mean don't add extra) but it is too many words in the one sentence for me (and my listeners). I have other comments available for emphasis.. eg. 我不能吃面粉/酱油。 If questioned (& it is very rare) I might say 有过敏的. I find people highly aware of things like allergy but as I've said before no knowledge of gluten intolerance. But it doesn't matter. So in my view any risk is covered by repeated questioning/discussion rather than focusing on the one right word.