Language is a complicated thing, especially the language of love – sigh. Anyway, that’s my problem and shouldn’t be aired in public, so here we’ll provide a little glossary to help you around some of the more exotic terminologies related to the Far East.


Bibimbap (Korean)

A trademark Korean dish, which literally means ‘mixed meal’. It’s a combination of piping hot white rice with a variety of colourful ingredients, such as sautéed vegetables, sliced beef or a fried egg.

It can be eaten hot or cold, but if the former – this is usually served in a blazing hot stone bowl that sizzles on contact. A thin layer of oil is added to the sides of the bowl which fries the rice to form a golden cocoon. Try the aptly named ‘Bibimbap House’ on Mill Road for a taster.

Dim sum

Dim sum (Chinese)

Literally and phonetically translated from the Cantonese for ‘to touch the heart’.

What kind of romance or morbid practice is this, we can imagine you crying. Well, ‘dim sum’ is a genre of food that is akin to appetisers, kind of like a rainbow universe of Chinese-inspired tapas. They are mostly delightful (by that, we also mean small) and were originally meant as snacks to accompany tea drinking sessions  (yum cha).

The range of bite-sized mouth watering morsels is expansive and includes a variety of steamed buns, delicious dumplings and the euphemism that are ‘Phoenix claws’.

In a culture that is so dominated by food, ‘dim sum’ is truly a thing of beauty and elegance.


Edamame beans (Japanese)

Young soya beans cropped within the pod. These tender delicacies are often steamed and eaten as a starter.
Pringles don’t have anything on the addictiveness of popping these healthy little beauties.


Hot pot / steamboat (Chinese)

There are few things as simple and glorious as a well stocked hot pot. It is essentially a pot of boiling stock in which you cook your own ingredients in. The world is your oyster, so you can choose your own menu – common ingredients are beef, chicken, pork, seafood, fish balls, tofu, Chinese leaf, vermicelli, udon etc.
The bonus of hot pots are that they are a very social ‘event’ – you can sit around the cauldron for hours, chatting away and over eating in the process. The best value hot pot can be experienced at Spring Restaurant on Mill Road.


Kimchi (Korean)

Fermented vegetables served as a side dish with marmite qualities – you either love it or hate it.
(I hate it).


Sashimi (Japanese)

Normally on the same menu as sushi, sashimi is – in essence – similar to sushi, but without the rice. So, what this means is finely sliced fresh meat (often seafood) served with a preferred garnish.


Sushi (Japanese)

Perhaps no explanation is required any more – sushi is now well known in the UK.

But we will anyway.

Sushi is Japanese cuisine that consists of small parcels of special vinegary rice partnered with a multitude of different fish, meat or vegetarian options. Typically, sushi will be served cold with sliced preserved ginger and dipped in soya sauce and wasabi (a kind of green Japanese mustard / horse radish).


Teppanyaki (Japanese)

A style of cooking where the chef cooks in front of you upon an oversized sizzling hot plate.
(To clarify, the chef isn’t stood on a hot plate, that would be cruel – rather the food is cooked on a hot plate)


Tofu (Chinese)

A vegetarian’s delight – tofu is basically coagulated soya milk. Sometimes also called ‘bean curd’, it comes in a host of different forms and because it is fairly bland, can be used from anything to a starter, main or dessert.

Yum cha

Yum Cha (Chinese)

Something of a pastime nowadays, ‘yum cha’ literally means ‘drink tea’ and is the collective activity of eating dim sum and, well, drinking tea. Of course, there are numerous types of dim sum and Chinese teas and so the experience can be a varied and social one.


Wasabi (Japanese)

A fierce Japanese mustard, normally used as a condiment for sushi and sashimi. This is a must try, but be warned – it can be potent and too much can invite pain with your pleasure.

About Rice Socks

Your hub for information, news and reviews for all things from the far east, in Cambridge (it also doubles up as a general guide to what's on in Cambridge).

We're tired of reading reviews that are paid to love everything, or otherwise sit safely on the fence. We promise to be impartial and fair, but above all - opinionated! If something deserves praise, it will receive it in lavish and handsome proportions. But on the flip side, we won't like everything. . .

So, whether you're Asian or otherwise, a tourist, resident or just visiting - if you have any interest in the Far East and/or Cambridge in general, we hope you'll find this site useful and, at least occasionally, entertaining.

And remember, user reviews are cherished like gold dust. Please sprinkle your gold liberally around the site.

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