Lesson 13: This soup is too bland!

这个汤太淡了! Zhè ge tāng tài dàn le!



Have you ever cooked for your family or for someone special to you? How was the cooking? Did your family or the special person enjoy what you have prepared especially for them? We hope it went well and they enjoyed every dish you have cooked for them.


In today’s lesson, we will go through some of the words that you can use to describe the food that you have eaten. Using these new vocabularies, we will have a dialogue between Wang Li and her sister Wang Xin. Their mother has gone out and Wang Li decided to cook dinner for her sister. Let us see whether Wang Li is a good cook or not from the dialogue.


There are many words that you can use to describe about the food that you have eaten. We will go through some of the most commonly used words in this lesson.


Simplified Chinese Pinyin English
Tián Sweet
Xián Salty
Dàn Bland
Suān Sour
Cuì Crispy
Ruǎn Soft
Yìng Tough, hard
Chòu Smelly
Xiāng Fragrant
Lěng Cold


As the words are used as adjectives, it is placed after the noun or subject you are talking about. For example, when you want to say this bread is very soft in Chinese, it is 这个面包很软 Zhè ge miàn bāo hěn ruǎn.The famous stinky tofu in Taiwan and China is 臭豆腐 Chòu dòufu in Chinese. Do you like to eat sweet and sour pork? This is a very famous Chinese dish and available in every Chinese restaurant. The name of this dish in Chinese is 糖醋肉 Táng cù ròu. The literal translation of sweet and sour pork is 甜酸猪肉. 糖 (Táng) is sugar and it is sweet. 醋 (Cù) is vinegar and it is sour. And 肉 (Ròu) is meat as pork is a type of meat. So, now you know how to order this dish in Chinese the next time you visit a Chinese restaurant.


Now let us go on to our dialogue session for today. As mentioned above, the conversation is between 2 sisters, Wang Li and Wang Xin. Wang Li is cooking dinner for her sister and it turned out that she is not a good cook at all.


王心:               姐姐,今晚你想煮什么?

王丽:               排骨汤和炒青菜。

王心:               你真的会做菜吗?

王丽:               当然。你去忙吧。晚饭准备好后我会叫你。

王心:               好的。

王丽:               妹妹,吃饭了!

王心:               哇,这汤太淡,菜太咸。我不吃了!

王丽                是吗?让我来尝尝。哦,真的很难吃。


Wáng xīn:        jiejie, jīn wǎn nǐ xiǎng zhǔ shén me?

Wáng lì:           pái gǔ tāng hé chǎo qīng cài

Wáng xīn :       nǐ zhēn de huì zuò cài ma?

Wáng lì :          dān grán. Nǐ qù máng ba. Wǎn fàn zhǔn bèi hǎo hòu wǒ huì jiào nǐ.

Wáng xīn :       hǎo de.

Wáng lì :          mèimei, chīfàn le!

Wáng xīn :       Wa, zhè tāng tài dàn, cài tài xián. Wǒ bù chī le!

Wáng lì :          shì ma? Ràng wǒ lái cháng cháng. Ó, zhēn de hěn nán chī.


Wang Xin:       Sis, what are going to cook tonight?

Wang Li:         pork ribs soup and fry vegetable.

Wang Xin:       Do you really know how to cook?

Wang Li:             Of course. You go do your things and I will let you know when dinner is ready.

Wang Xin:           Alright then.

Wang Li:             Sister, dinner is ready.

Wang Xin:           Wow, this soup is too bland and the vegetable is too salty. I am not going to eat.

Wang Li:             Really? Let me try. Oh, they taste really bad.



真的会…吗? (really know how to….?) is used when the speaker is trying to get a confirmation from the listener. As in the dialogue, Wang Xin does not believe that her sister can cook, so she uses真的会…吗to confirm her doubt. In between 真的会 and 吗, you can add whatever action verbs you like. For example, 驾车 drive (Jià chē); 说中文 speak Chinese (Shuō zhōngwén); 跳舞 dance (Tiàowǔ).


当然 is a combination of two words 当 and 然. When used separately, Dāng can mean when and to be when pronounced in the first tone. For example, 她快妈妈了!Tā kuài dang māmā le (she is going to be a mother soon!). 老师不在时,我们都不读书Dāng lǎoshī bù zài shí, wǒmen dōu bù dúshū (When the teacher is not around, all of us do not study)


The word 然 is usually used with another word to form a phrase. For example, when you want to say afterwards/then/after, you add the Chinese word 后 to become 然后 Ránhòu. For example, 我通常是先喝汤,然后才吃饭 Wǒ tōngcháng shì xiān hē tāng, ránhòu cái chīfàn ( I normally drink the soup first, then eat the rice).


……. 好后, ……. is a phrase used when 1st action has finished and the next action is going to happen. In the dialogue, Wang Li said to the sister that she will call her when dinner is done/when it is prepared. The first action is cooking and the next action is calling her. For example, 功课做好后,你才可以看电视 Gōngkè zuò hǎo hòu, nǐ cái kě yǐ kàn diànshì ( You can only watch TV after you have finished doing your homework)


让我来…… means let me ……… You can add any verb after that. 来Lái by itself means to come/arrive. You can use this phrase to say let me see, 让我来看看 Ràng wǒ lái kàn kàn, 让我来开门 Ràng wǒ lái kāimén (let me open the door).


We have to come to end of this lesson. Although Chinese is not an easy language to learn, we hope you will not give up and come back for more lessons.

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