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            臺灣美食為什么那么“Q”?
            In Italy, ‘Al Dente’ Is Prized. In Taiwan, It’s All About Food That’s ‘Q.’

            [2018年10月24日] 來源:紐約時報 作者:AMY QIN   字號 [] [] []  

            NEW TAIPEI CITY, Taiwan — As dusk falls at Lehua Night Market, the fluorescent lights flicker on and the hungry customers start trickling in, anxious for a taste of the local delicacies that give this island its reputation as one of Asia’s finest culinary capitals.

            臺灣新北市——隨著夜幕降臨樂華夜市,燈光亮起,饑腸轆轆的客人們三三兩兩來到這里,急于吃到讓這個島嶼享有亞洲最佳美食之城的當地美食。

            Neatly arranged pyramids of plump fish balls. Bowls brimming with tapioca balls bathed in lightly sweetened syrup. Sizzling oyster omelets, hot off the griddle. Deep-fried sweet potato puffs, still dripping with oil.

            整齊碼成小山的飽滿魚丸。一碗碗淋著略帶甜味糖漿的涼圓。剛從鐵板上下來,咝咝作響的蚵仔煎。還滴著熱油的炸地瓜球。

            Take a bite of any of these dishes and you’ll discover a unique texture. But how exactly do you describe that perfectly calibrated “mouth feel” so sought after by local cooks and eaters alike?


            臺北樂華夜市上的涼圓。這種小吃有著備受推崇的Q口感。

            隨便嘗一口這些小吃,你都會發現它們有著一種別具一格的口感。但你該如何形容那種經過精心調配,令當地廚師和食客們趨之若鶩的“口感”呢?

            Slippery? Chewy? Globby? Not exactly the most flattering adjectives in the culinary world.

            滑溜?有嚼勁?黏糊?這些可算不上是美食界最好聽的形容。 Luckily, the Taiwanese have a word for this texture. Well, actually, it’s not a word, it’s a letter — one that even non-Chinese speakers can pronounce.

            幸運的是,臺灣人有一個詞來形容這種口感。其實,也不是詞語,而是個字母——就連不講中文的人也能說出它。

            It’s “Q.”

            那就是“Q”。

            “It’s difficult to explain what Q means exactly,” said Liu Yen-ling, a manager at Chun Shui Tang, a popular teahouse chain that claims to have invented tapioca milk tea in Taiwan. “Basically it means springy, soft, elastic.”

            “很難解釋Q到底是什么意思,”人氣連鎖茶飲品牌、號稱臺灣珍珠奶茶發明者的春水堂的經理劉葉玲(音)說。“基本上,它是彈牙、軟糯的意思。”

            Q texture is to Taiwanese what umami is to Japanese and al dente is to Italians — that is, cherished and essential. Around Taiwan, the letter Q can often be glimpsed amid a jumble of Chinese characters on shop signs and food packages and in convenience stores and advertisements.

            “Q”的口感之于臺灣人,就等于“umami”(鮮)之于日本人,“al dente”(有嚼勁)之于意大利人——備受珍視,也必不可少。在臺灣各地,可以在店鋪招牌和便利店、廣告的食物包裝中的一堆中國字里瞥見“Q”這個字母。


            寒天Q棒、涼圓、芝麻味麻糬。

            The texture is found in both savory and sweet foods, and is most often used to describe foods that contain some kind of starch like noodles, tapioca pearls and fish balls. If something is really chewy or extra Q, then it could be called QQ. Often, Q and QQ are used interchangeably.

            在甜食和非甜食中都能找到這種口感,并且它往往被用來形容如面條、珍珠和魚丸等某種帶有淀粉的食物。如果某種食物特別有嚼勁,或是特別“Q”,就會被說“QQ”。“Q”和“QQ”可以互換。

            “You can tell if bubble milk tea is good based on how Q the tapioca pearls are,” Mr. Liu said. “If the texture is perfect, it can be very satisfying.”

            “根據珍珠有多Q,你能分辨出珍珠奶茶好不好”,劉葉玲說,“如果口感完美,那會讓人很滿足。”

            André Chiang, a Michelin-star chef and owner of RAW in Taipei, said he had recently been experimenting with the texture at his restaurant, which uses only locally sourced Taiwanese ingredients.

            米其林星級主廚、臺北RAW餐廳主人江振誠表示,他最近在自己的餐館里探索這種口感,他的餐廳只使用來自臺灣本土的原材料。

            One dish he was trying out for the restaurant’s new menu featured langoustine, burned onion juice and white tapioca pearls that are cooked to bubbly Q perfection.

            他正在為自己餐廳的新菜單嘗試的一道菜有小龍蝦、燒洋蔥汁和一顆顆烹制到完美Q彈的白色珍珠。


            臺北夜市上。 BILLY H.C. KWOK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES “It’s like al dente but not quite,” Mr. Chiang said. “It’s to the tooth but there’s also that added element of bounciness.”

            “有點像是‘al dente’,但又不完全一樣,”江振誠說。“它有嚼勁,但還多了一種帶有彈牙的元素。”

            Q is so well established in Taiwan that many in Hong Kong and over the strait in mainland China use the term as well.

            “Q”在臺灣如此常用,以至于香港和海峽對岸大陸的許多人也開始使用這個說法。 Elsewhere in Asia, it is a familiar texture, though the term itself may not be used. Tteok-bokki, a Korean stir-fried rice cake, and mochi, a Japanese rice cake, for example, could also be considered Q. In Western cuisine, the texture is less commonly found, though one could describe foods like gummy bears and certain kinds of pasta as Q.

            在亞洲其他地方,人們對這種口感也毫不陌生,雖然可能不會用“Q”來形容。比如韓國炒年糕和日本麻糬也可以用“Q”形容。在西式菜肴中,這種口感就不那么常見了,盡管你可以形容小熊軟糖和某些意大利面“Q”。

            The origins of the term Q are unclear. Some say it comes from the Taiwanese Hokkien word k’iu. Say Q to an elderly Taiwanese, and chances are he or she will know the term. But no one can quite explain how and when the 17th letter of the English alphabet became shorthand for describing the texture of tapioca balls and gummy candies.

            “Q”這個說法的來源不得而知。有人說它源于閩南話里的“k’iu”。如果對上了年紀的臺灣人說“Q”,他/她很可能會知道這個說法。但沒人能明白解釋這個英語字母表里的第17個字母是如何、何時成為了形容珍珠和軟糖口感的簡稱的。

            With the rapid proliferation of bubble milk tea shops and other Asian snack shops across the United States over the years, there has emerged a broader appreciation for this once “exotic” texture, even if the vocabulary to describe that texture has not exactly caught up.

            隨著近年來,珍珠奶茶店和其他亞洲小吃店在美國迅速遍地開花,人們已經對這種一度令人覺得“奇異”口感有了更廣泛的喜愛,即便是形容這種口感的說法還沒能流行起來。


            酥炸牛奶、地瓜球和蒟蒻。

            “Most of my American friends like bubble milk tea,” said Tina Fong, a co-founder of Taipei Eats, which offers food tours around the city. “But when there’s Q texture in a savory dish, it can still be a bit strange to them. It really depends on the person.”

            “我的大多數美國朋友都喜歡珍珠奶茶,”提供臺北市美食游的Taipei Eats的共同創始人蒂娜·方(Tina Fong)說。“但當美食里有Q的口感時,對他們來說還是有點奇怪。取決于個人。”

            When it comes to the Chinese language, the letter Q is surprisingly versatile, and not used only to describe food. For example, many in China and Taiwan are familiar with 阿Q, or Ah Q, the protagonist of one of China’s most famous novellas by the writer Lu Xun.

            在中文里,“Q”這個字母令人驚訝地適用于各種情況,不僅限于用來形容事物。比如,中國和臺灣的許多人都很熟悉作家魯迅所寫的中國最為著名的中篇小說之一里的主角“阿Q”。

            After the publication of “The True Story of Ah Q” in the early 1920s, Ah Q became a symbol of the backwardness of Chinese culture. While the story’s narrator confesses to not knowing the origin of Ah Q’s name, some scholars say Lu Xun may have chosen Q as an implicit reference to its homonym queue, or the braided ponytail that Chinese men were forced to wear to show their subjugation to the ruling Qing dynasty.

            《阿Q正傳》于1920年代初出版后,阿Q成為了中國文化落后的象征。盡管講述這個故事的人坦誠并不知道阿Q這個名字的由來,但一些學者表示,魯迅之所以選擇“Q”,可能是因為它與是“辮子”的英文同音,當時中國男子被迫留頭發編辮子,以顯示對統治的清朝的服從。

            Some have also interpreted Lu Xun’s Q as a pictogram of a head with a pigtail.

            一些人則將魯迅的“Q”解讀為一個帶著辮子的腦袋。


            臺北春水堂珍珠粉圓(左)和珍珠奶茶(中)和林東芳牛肉面店的牛肉面。

            There are many other uses for the term Q in Chinese as well. It could be used, for example, as shorthand for the English word cute, or to refer to the once-popular QQ messaging service from Tencent or the QQ minicar model from the Chinese carmaker Chery.

            中文里對“Q”也有許多其他用法。比如,它可被用于英文“cute”(可愛)的縮寫,或是可用于指一度流行的騰訊消息服務QQ,或是中國汽車制造商奇瑞的微型轎車。

            “Whether Q may be considered a Chinese character or not, it certainly has become a part of the Chinese writing system,” Victor Mair, a professor of Chinese language at the University of Pennsylvania, once wrote in a blog post.

            “無論Q是否被視為中文字,它肯定已經成了中文書寫系統的一部分,”賓夕法尼亞大學(University of Pennsylvania)中文教授梅維恒(Victor Mair)曾在一篇博客文章中寫道。 Among Taiwanese, the appreciation for Q texture starts at a young age. On a recent sticky evening at Lehua Night Market, crowds ambled through the carnival-like pedestrian street, which was lined on both sides with vendors hawking things like hats, cellphone cases and, of course, delicious snacks.

            在臺灣人中,對Q這個口感的喜愛從很小的時候就開始了。近日在樂華夜市一個炎熱的夏日夜晚,人群在像是嘉年華一般的人行道上漫步,道路兩邊都有著兜售帽子、手機殼,當然還有美味小吃。

            A gaggle of mini revelers zeroed in on a stand with a neon sign that read “QQ popsicles.” Asked why Q texture was so appealing to Taiwanese, Lu Wei-chen, the owner of the stand, smiled as she handed a bright red jelly bar to a delighted toddler.

            一小群人歡鬧著慢慢走向一個寫著“寒天Q棒”霓虹招牌的小攤。當被問到為何Q的口感如此吸引臺灣人時,小攤老板盧衛晨(音)滿面笑容地將一支紅色膠狀冰棒遞給一個開心的小孩。

            “It’s simple,” she said. “When you eat it, you will be in a good mood.”

            “很簡單,”她說。“你吃的時候心情就很好。”

            Karoline Kan自北京對本文有研究貢獻。

            翻譯:安妮

            本文最初發表于2018年10月4日。

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