Blogtober – Day 18 – Learn Chinese Vocabulary: Autumn Foods


Since I have to teach my students some Autumn vocabulary this month in English, I think I ought to study more vocabulary in Chinese.This post will be a three part series.

Part One will be mainly about Autumn and the holidays that are celebrated in China during this season.

READ  Blogtober Challenge - Day 16 - Learn Chinese Vocabulary: Autumn

Part Two will be about Halloween and Part Three will be about Autumn foods, of course!

READ  Blogtober Challenge - Day 17 - Learn Chinese Vocabulary: Halloween

Let’s Begin! 那我们开始吧!nà wǒmén kàishǐ ba!

Learn Chinese Autumn Foods Vocabulary

I planned to design cute flashcards using Canva, but they don’t support Chinese characters! If I had more time I would have used a Chinese app. For now, a list will suffice.

There are 4 tones and 1 neutral tone in Mandarin Chinese that are needed to clarify the meanings of words. Reference the photo and link below to learn about Chinese Phonics!

The Chinese Mandarin Tones

1. Harvest – 收成 – shōu chéng

收 means to gather, collect, harvest   成 as a noun means achievement; result

收 + 成 = gather the results = harvest

2. Turkey – 火鸡 – huǒ jī

火 is fire   鸡 is mainly used as chicken, but when talking about other birds, the correct translation is fowl 火 + 鸡 = fire fowl/chicken  = Turkey (I’m assuming it’s because of the way we cook it…in the oven. Maybe because the ovens were mostly fire based back in the day)

3. Apple – 苹果 – píng guǒ

苹 is difficult to translate because it’s primary translation is Artemisia (an herb) or duckweed (a water plant). However, it doesn’t make much sense to me why this character is paired with 果. 果 means fruit.

I’m thinking because Artemisia is linked with sweet wormwood and apples could have a worm in there 苹 + 果 = sweet worm fruit = Apple

5. Pie – 馅饼 – xiàn bǐng

馅 means stuffing, filling   饼 means round flat cake, cookie, pastry    馅 + 饼 = stuffed round pastry = pie

6. Sweet Potato – 地瓜 dì guā    OR   红薯 – hóng shǔ

There are so many translations for this word. Here are the two I have heard the most while living in Jinan.

红 is the color red   薯 is potato   红 + 薯 = red potato (this one unfortunately could mean the small red potatoes)

地 is earth, land, floor   瓜 is melon, gourd, squash 地 + 瓜 = earth gourd = sweet potato

* I use 地瓜 more often because I think this accurately depicts the meaning. Also , when translated in Pleco, 地瓜 is the botanical term for yam bean

Learn Chinese Vocabulary - Autumn Foods

Autumn Foods

7. Cinnamon – 肉桂 – ròu guì

肉 means meat, flesh, and pulp   桂 is cinnamon (tree)   肉 + 桂 = Cinnamon tree flesh = Cinnamon

8. Cranberries – 小红莓 – xiǎo hóng méi

小 means little, small   红 is red   莓 means berry   小 + 红 + 莓 = Little Red Berries = Cranberries

9. Ginger – 姜 – jiāng

10. Pepper – 胡椒 – hú jiāo

胡 as an adjective, means something from the northern and western ethnic groups or from abroad

椒 is any of the several hot spice plants

胡 + 椒 = Spice plant from abroad = Pepper

*NOTE Like English, you can specify which pepper. Maybe sometime this year I can do a Chinese lesson just on peppers, since I love spicy food!

11. Hairy Crab – 大闸蟹 – dà zhá xiè

大 is big   闸 means flood gate, sluice gate   蟹 is crab  大 + 闸 + 蟹 = big sluice crab ( I’m thinking these crabs probably travel or invade other water areas through these floodgates). Other than that, I’m clueless why the second character is used! I need to ask one of my Chinese friends.

12. Corn – 玉米 – yù mǐ

玉 means jade, precious stone   米 is husked rice, shelled seed   玉 + 米 = Precious stone seed = Corn

13. Mooncake – 月饼 – yuè bǐng

月 means month, moon   饼 means round flat cake, cookie, pastry   月 + 饼 = Mooncake


Food is the most difficult Chinese Vocabulary, I think because it’s hard to understand why they chose a certain character to describe the food! Nonetheless, I had fun writing this!

Let me know if you want any other topic as a lesson!



  • Helene Choo

    You’ve made me really hungry with these words:D Thanks for the vocab lesson! Looking forward to some additional Chinese lessons, maybe in winter?:)

    • Tyra Skinner

      Hehehe, I’m definitely going to have a Chinese lesson for Winter! I was hungry writing this!!

  • Alexi R

    Waaw I’ve learned a lot today, my word of the day will be Jue Bing Jiang ahahaha I’m thinking about food only, my partner even says I’m a “ventre à pates” french word which means “stomach machine” or literally means “stomach with legs”

    • Tyra Skinner

      Hahaha I’m like a stomach machine too. I eat every 2 hours!! Interesting way they say this in French!

  • Canva flashcards – hmm.. I love the idea. Maybe someday they’ll support Chinese format too. I just love moon cakes. I had so many of them at a recent moon festival out here 🙂 Cheers!!

    • Tyra Skinner

      I just love Canva because I’m terrible at photoshop 😂 what was your favorite Mooncake?

  • Neha T

    I love Jiang tea.. Ginger tea.. Learnt something again thanks to this post. I never thought I can learn Chinese. Interesting series. Cheers.

  • Digital Travel Guru

    Another great read and post, really enjoying your series, Moon cakes are so delicious, you just made me want one now LOL. Keep these coming please, I think I am learning a bit now. Bookmarked

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