As you’d expect in such a big country, food tastes differ greatly from north to south, east to west. After a while, you’ll be able to pick out different tastes from different regions—and also find your own favourites from amongst China’s various, famous cuisines.

In this Podcast you will learn:

1) To say different tastes and flavours in Chinese

2) How to express what you would like to eat

Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:

1) 豆腐:Tofu

2) 咸:Salty

3) 这个很咸:This is very salty

4) 甜:Sweet

5) 这个挺甜的:This is very sweet

6) 酸:Sour

7) 这是酸的: This is Sour

8) 辣:Spicy

9) 酸辣汤:Hot and sour soup

10) 苦:Bitter

11) 苦瓜:Bitter melon Grammar note: “的” is a very common particle in Mandarin Chinese. Chinese uses the possessive 的 particle to link qualities to anything, not just objects, to their owners. For example: 甜的苹果 the apple is sweet, 酸的葡萄:the grape is sour

Cultural note:

(1)Generally speaking, people from the northern part of China usually like food with a stronger and heavier taste, whilst people from the south prefer a lighter taste. People from the central areas usually have more mixed tastes, although tend to like sweeter things. So, it’s common to hear people from, for example, southern areas such as Guangzhou who go to Beijing “complain” the food there is too strong, and vice versa.

(2)People from Sichuan and Hunan province are fond of eating spicy food such as 麻婆豆腐Mapo Tofu (famous Sichuan cuisine) etc.

12) 口重:Heavy taste:used to describe people who like to eat stronger flavours

13) 口轻:Light taste: used to describe people who like to eat lighter flavours

14) 她喜欢吃():She likes to eat() Eg. 她喜欢吃辣的。She likes to eat spicy food 她喜欢吃甜的。She likes to eat sweet food 我不喜欢吃辣的。I don’t like spicy food

15) 她特别喜欢吃()。She likes to eat ( ) a lot

16) Eg.

她特别喜欢吃辣的。She likes to eat spicy food a lot

她特别喜欢吃甜的。She likes to eat sweet food a lot

You can also say this in a casual way:

她特喜欢吃(). She likes to eat ( ) a lot.

Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:

round-italki-logo-3d-01Using Italki, a unique system of learning Mandarin Chinese where you interact with real teachers, is widely recognised as an effective way to learn a new language! You’ll make more progress and learn how native Chinese speakers really speak. Plus, Italki is more affordable than offline tutors, offline schools and software, and is convenient to use at your own pace and place!


Keats Chinese SchoolKeats Chinese School, which was founded in 2004, is one of the top Mandarin Chinese language schools in China, offering both one-on-one immersion Mandarin courses and small group Chinese classes. Located in Kunming, Keats develops personalised exercises and materials for students to meet their learning goals and requirements and can arrange a student visa for its 16 week course.

Yes! I’d like to learn Mandarin Chinese more effectively

Narrated by Song Liu

Our Podcast narrator, is a native Chinese speaker and is originally from Beijing, China and is keen to help you get ahead with learning. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies. Song also hosted a Mandarin live call-in news and music radio show in the Bay Area.

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