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Chinese Symbol Alphabet Soup

Alphabet soup, but with chinese symbols instead of letters.
  (+37, -3)(+37, -3)(+37, -3)
(+37, -3)
  [vote for,

Alphabet soup is a popular food for children. Candles and little new age thingamajigs often have Chinese symbols on them, usually meaning things like wealth or happiness. So it hit me: Why can't you combine alphabet soup with chinese symbols?

The soup would consist of regular alphabet soup ingredients, except that the noodles would be shaped like the Chinese symbol for "wealth" or "happiness." It would be packaged with the symbol that the noodles are shaped like on the front, and would come in different flavors. Things like "Health Chicken Noodle" or "Prosperity Spaghetti" would soon be flooding the new age food stores, hungrily sought for by trendy New Age children.

Ruuffus, Oct 20 2002

husband and wife sliced lung http://www.china.org.cn/english/26147.htm
How some Chinese dishes are named [thumbwax, Oct 20 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Number of Chinese Characters http://www.fas.harv.../China/quantity.htm
[FarmerJohn, Oct 20 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Fortune Cookie http://kcnetwork.ne...1/FortuneCookie.jpg
[thumbwax, Oct 23 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Several different shapes could be included in a single package, evoking a theme.   

       Let's see: sun, moon, fire, water, wood, gold, earth... "week soup"
lurch, Oct 20 2002

       Package it in waterproof fortune cookies. Stir it for new fortunes before slurping it down.
FarmerJohn, Oct 20 2002

       There'd be a lot of variety, that''s for sure. Isn't there, like, 5,000 characters or something ridiculous?
bristolz, Oct 20 2002

       Link says 4,500 frequently used characters; 56,000 total.
FarmerJohn, Oct 20 2002

       Beware the 'Domino principle' - they take over one shelf, then one aisle, before you know it the whole darned supermarket's full of tins of Chinese Alphabet Soup .......
8th of 7, Oct 21 2002

       Communist soup ? Full Marx.
8th of 7, Oct 21 2002

       You may run into a problem forming such complex characters out of tiny bits of pasta. Chinese characters seem to be generally much more intricate than our Roman letters...
snarfyguy, Oct 21 2002

       I think this idea is very zenish and one of the better ideas I have seen here for awhile. +++ and another +.
blissmiss, Oct 21 2002

       Down with mechanized soup alphabets!
bristolz, Oct 21 2002

       <aside> Why should a different alphabet/language be more zen-ish? So the Chinese word for 'Wisdom' looks pretty, I bet the Chinese word for poo is as well.   

       Hmmm...I have an idea forming..."Zen-Poo"</aside>
Jinbish, Oct 21 2002

       "Isn't there, like, 5,000 characters or something ridiculous?" And you could guarantee that all of them are in the box -- that would keep the kids busy for a while.
ldischler, Oct 21 2002

       My zen may not be your zen, but that doesn't make it any more or any less zenish to me, jinbish.
blissmiss, Oct 21 2002

       [Blissmiss]: No no - I agree that the chinese is a bit 'Zen-ish'. I was just being a bit rhetorically sceptic   

       [UnaBubba]:That sounds like the name of a dish offered at my local Chinese restaurant. Probably tastes the same too.
Jinbish, Oct 21 2002

       Depends on what you call good, I guess. My dining experiences in Beijing earlier this year weren't that great. That said, I admit that it was business and that there was a lot of time pressure so I didn't have much freedom to explore the culinary landscape.   

       I have, however, had some very wonderful Chinese meals here in the states. Their authenticity perhaps questionable but their scrumptiousness undeniable. But then, I don't care much about the authenticity of a dish, really. If it's authentically good, that's good enough for me.   

       Also had a very memorable Chinese dinner in London's China town about 5 years ago but that might just have been the coziness of the setting and the people I happened to have been with at the time and maybe the Tsingtao.
bristolz, Oct 21 2002

       West of where ? Yours or ours ?   

       Since Europe's Far East is your Near North-West, where exactly (geographically) is it hard to find real Chinese food ? Just curious. I've been to some excellent Chinese restaraunts in London, and I was one of the few non-Chinese patrons. I presume that if the immigrant Chinese community patronise the restaraunts, they must be fairly good and representative. Reports reaching this office from aquaintances who have actually vsisted the interior of mainland China give mixed reports on the quality of the cuisine. Further reports recieved from visitors to Taiwan range from "odd" through "not very nice" via "uneatable" to "the f******* tried to poison me".   

       Are there any halfbakers who can effectively address this muddle of preconceptions and prejudice ?
8th of 7, Oct 21 2002

       I agree 8th of 7, London China Town has a real mix of "authentic" restaurants - about 1 good to every 5 bad in my opinion. Some are very close to that which you get in China (including outside the normal tourism areas).
namaste, Oct 21 2002

       Spot on, [namaste]. When dining in such areas I generally try to patronise the ones that the Chinese themselves favour. Sadly my minimal, specialised knowledge of ideograms runs out fairly fast in such circumstances, but I get by. I've never had a meal I haven't throughly enjoyed.   

       [UB] Your point about fake "westernised" dishes is hereby seconded. I spurn such foolishness.
8th of 7, Oct 21 2002

       But on the other hand completely European spaghetti combined with Chinese alphabet characters is not going to be a good way of demonstrating the highlights in cuisine of either culture.
Miss Weston Smith, Oct 21 2002

       [UnaBubba] - // Japanese, with its 64 ideograms //
Latest "joyo kanji" (daily usage ideograms) list I could find is 1,945 characters. Changes a bit year to year. Total listing would be 14,000 - 32,000, depending on source.
lurch, Oct 22 2002

       I didn't know what Chinese food was until I visited Hong Kong, despite having eaten stuff called "Chinese food" for years and years before that...
snarfyguy, Oct 22 2002

       When you said "ideograms", I figured you were talking about the ones that carry ideas, i.e., kanji. If you are going to do "kana soup", it's just an "alphabet soup" in a different language, and while implementation is substantially easier than Chinese characters, it wouldn't be packing the little bits of meaning.   

       Ramen o yomazu ni tabenasai yo! (loosely - "eat your ramen without reading it!")
lurch, Oct 22 2002

       This leaves the door open for Cyrilic alphabet soup - no doubt retailed at "Soups 'R Us" ? (Can't find key sequence for that wrthechedbackwards "R").
8th of 7, Oct 23 2002

       This could be marketed very well to the new agey feng shwee (appologies for phoenetic spelling) types. "I have a wealth noodle in the east of my bowl, Wahay!"
dare99, Oct 23 2002

       //"kana soup"//
//Cyrilic alphabet soup//

       Well why not take this to its logical conclusion: Unicode Soup.   

       Margaret Dumont: "Waiter, there's a dingbat in my soup!"
Groucho: "I think there's a dingbat eating it too."
krelnik, Oct 23 2002

       brilliant! and i'm not just saying that because of my name. i'll buy ten tins.
china, Oct 23 2002

       Yo ji qian ge zhong wen zhi, wan fang bu xia tang.
bristolz, Oct 23 2002

       tell us what you said [bris] or we will start with the swedish again <g>
po, Oct 23 2002

       Jag kan ikke tale Svensk
bristolz, Oct 23 2002

       you are always in my stew? well excuse me for butting in!
po, Oct 23 2002

       Bris wrote, "I can't speak Swedish," in Danish.   

       "Waiter, there's a fly in my soup!"
"A fly?"
"No, a fly, a flench fly!"
FarmerJohn, Oct 23 2002

       tell us what you said [bris] or we will gang up on you in English <g>
po, Oct 23 2002

       xie xie if you thought i might be able to read that, bris, but unfortunately wo shi wai guo ren, bu you zhong... shoot, forgot the word for language! obviously college was a long time ago. all i really remember is ni you da bi zi, and wo e si la! ("you have a big nose", and "i'm starving!") now po has no reason to attack, i've translated mine. anyway -- for a chinese wanna-be like me, this product would be a hit. but would anybody in china buy it? do they really want to eat their words? sounds a little too much like losing face to me.   

       [farmerj] remember the chinese guy who was in charge of supplies?
china, Oct 23 2002

       This is a stellar idea. Plus there are lots of people who use these characters, who eat soup, and who buy things. It could make money.   

       I have thought of 2 approaches. 1: Custom soups. Soups could have a theme, and characters to match. The flavor of the soup would be in accord with the theme. There would be 20-30 different characters per soup. I leave it to the reader to imagine soup themes.   

       2: Baseball card approach. Make 20-30 common characters then 20-30 uncommon or rare ones. People would search their soup for rare and auspicious characters. New characters could periodically be introduced and added to the mix.
bungston, Oct 23 2002

       [china] I'm afraid not.
FarmerJohn, Oct 25 2002

       It says, roughly, "there's so many noodles that there's no room left for broth," in pin yin.
bristolz, Oct 31 2002

       //The Chinese word for 'poo' is made up of two characters, 'changed' & 'rice'... seriously.//   

       Knowing there are translation problems going from Chinese to English, isn't there the risk that, going from English to Chinese, they might think we're actually eating "poo"... i.e. Uncle Ben's Converted Rice   

       Just a scary little thought...
Croesus47, Nov 22 2002

       Saa pyeow neow, zhow zhow, nee zer zhee.   

       But it is a bit rude so I aim it at the mental kids from Reina's class.
Ludwig, Dec 11 2002

       Technically, the Chinese characters and kanas are types of letters or characters, and are not symbols. While a kanji is an ideogram, the 47 kanas (not to forget to count the syllabic "N"!) of the Japanese writing system form a syllabary, and are by definition not ideograms.   

       The Unicode consortium used to refer to the Chinese characters as "Han characters," a generic name for the characters that are used in China, Japan, and Korea. "Han character(s)" is a direct translation of the Japanese word "Kanji," the Chinese word "Hanzi," and the Korean word "Hanja." Han refers to the Han dynasty, during which the modern Chinese writing system became popular. Nowadays the Unicode consortium refers to the set of characters as "CJK ideograms." Sometimes I also spot "CJKV ideogram," which includes characters that the Vietnamese used more frequently in the past.   

       The soup-makers can be all non-communist about making it, but the fact of the matter is communist-influenced China (i.e. excluding Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan) use characters that are radically more simple in shape so they are probably easier to make. While not all characters need be included in a can, an exhaustive list of ideograms for China, Japan, or Korea will easily count more than 64,000 - more than the Unicode Consortium are willing to introduce into the character set.   

       But who would these products be directed to? I suppose to households with children in East Asia. Perhaps there could be a "first grader's character soup" that includes just the characters that a first grader will learn that school year, and so on.   

       In reality, characters are a bit too complex for noodles, which is why I think it might be more practical to have characters written in (for example) chocolate on square crackers. hmm...
tongpoo, Jul 13 2003

       I was thinking of a soup comprised of nonletter nonnumber symbols: #$%!@##!! A spoonful would look like cartoon cussing.   

       Plus this fine soup idea has been dormant too long and needs to resurface.
bungston, Jan 11 2007

       Resurface like a noodle bouyed up on gentle convection currents in a steamy pot of fragrant broth?
squeak, Jan 12 2007

       Now you got me drooling.
bungston, Jan 12 2007

       I can't believe it falls to me to tell a joke that was hinted at four years ago, between somebody who hasn't posted since then [china] and a well loved regular not seen in these parts for a while [farmerjohn]. Sigh, the responsibilities of life.   

       Ok, this is made to be told at great length, with accents and miming, but I'll try to do it justice.   

       There's a miner who has come into posession of a map indicating where there is a rich deposit of gold, but he has no capitol to outfit an expedition. He advertises and asks around, but no one is willing to get involved in such a fool's errand.   

       Finally, he runs across an old chinaman who shows interest in the adventure. The miner makes it clear that he has no funds, and that the chinaman will be responsible for providing the supplies.   

       The chinaman agrees, and they set off on their journey. The miner is concerned - his partner is carrying almost no luggage. However, the chinaman assures the miner that he has it all taken care of, and all will be made apparent when they arrive at their destination.   

       After travel, and going hungry a few nights, they arrive at the location on the map, and there is indeed a mine tunnel going into the hillside. The miner expresses again his concern regarding the necessary supplies for the endeavor, and receives assurances from his partner that it is all taken care of. They enter the tunnel.   

       After several minutes, the miner notices that his partner is nowhere to be seen. He makes a search, but finds no clues as to the chinaman's whereabouts. Mystified, he cautiously proceeds.   

       Suddenly, the chinaman leaps out from behind a rock and shouts "Supplies!"   

       I'm sorry, but someone had to tie up that loose end.
normzone, Jan 12 2007

       While we are on the subject of alternate characters, why not even add shapes of offensive symbols?
Jscotty, Jan 12 2007

       Hi. This is quite a good idea.   

       However, being chinese and having always leaved there, I have some reasons to think that it would not work very well.   

       1) People here mainly it rice, not so much pastas 2) Foreigners tend to believe that lots of soup is eaten in China. However, in reality, chinese people eat soup very seldom. 3) Lots of characters, for example &#20320;or &#21103; or whatever, have some "unconnected" strokes. Therefore, it would be impossible to make them with pastas. Or you would have some pieces of each character floating everywhere in the soup lol.   

       Though, that's a good and amusing idea!
Basouille, Mar 28 2009


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