Melted, Grated, Grilled… Your Essential “Cheese” Chinese

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At Lingo Bus, we recommend that all visitors to China jump in and experience as much of the nation’s rich, diverse culture as possible. This includes the food.

However, especially for foreigners who live in the PRC, sometimes you just want a taste of home. This includes cheese.

So, here it is: a post dedicated to the nutty, creamy, dairy goodness that is cheese in all its glorious varieties.

Cheese Sandwichs
Photo: choosebettercheese.com

Cheese is known by a few names in China. On the mainland, you’ll mostly hear 奶酪 (nǎilào), and sometimes 乳酪 (rǔlào).

  • 奶 (nǎi) = milk
  • 乳 (rǔ) = milk
  • 酪 (lào) = curdled milk

You might also hear 干酪, but only in the context of a dry cheese (干 refers to “dry”).

In Hong Kong, cheese is also called 芝士 (zhīshì), based on the sound of the English name.

As relative newcomers to the Chinese diet (and lexicon), many varieties of cheese are named using transliterations, taken from the English sounds rather than having any particular meaning in Chinese. 莫泽雷勒 (mòzéléilè) is a good example.

We hope the language below will be helpful as you wander the dairy aisles in search of your next cheese fix:

yí kuài nǎilào

一块奶酪

a piece of cheese

mòzéléilè nǎilào

莫泽雷勒奶酪

Mozzarella cheese

 

nóng wèi qièdá gānlào

浓味切达干酪

mature cheddar cheese

 

bùlǐ nǎilào

布里奶酪

Brie (cheese)

 

Pà‘ěrmǎ gānlào

帕尔梅干酪

Parmesan cheese

 

ruǎn nǎilào

软奶酪

soft cheese (inc. cottage cheese)

 

mó suì de nǎilào

磨碎的奶酪

grated cheese

 

Tā bǎ yíge nǎilào sānmīngzhì fàng dào kǎojià xià hōngkǎo.

她把一个奶酪三明冶放到烤架下烘烤

She put a cheese sandwich under the grill (to heat it).

 

Nǎilào rónghuàle. Tài hǎo chīle!

奶酪融化了. 太好吃了!

The cheese melted. So tasty!

 

Gānlào tōngxīnfěn bùdīng

干酪通心粉布丁

macaroni cheese

 

Zhīshì dàngāo/ nǎilàodàngāo

芝士蛋糕/ 奶酪蛋糕

Cheese cake

 

yángnǎilào

羊奶酪

goat’s cheese

GoatsCheese Yunnan_Lumdimsumcom.jpg
Goat’s Cheese

Cheese Tip! If you are curious to try cheese local to China, the goat’s cheese of Yunnan is delicious. You can find great Yunnan fried goat’s cheese at Southern Barbarian in Shanghai and Beijing too.

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