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Translation Help Requested…

Translation requested

Hi Readers… I am hoping someone (friendlytm maybe?) might be able to help me with a bit of a translation difficulty. I am trying to translate a recipe for 紹興醉蝦 (Shaoxing Drunken Shrimp) written in Chinese Characters. The first instruction reads:



I gather this requires one to add scallion and ginger to boiling water, then add the shrimp and bring to the boil again. The next part of the instruction is the four characters you see pictured at the beginning of the post and it is this that is giving me a bit of a problem…

I have an idea that the instruction, presumably referring to the shrimp, is to ‘keep on ice’, or ‘plunge into ice water’ maybe, but I am not completely certain about this. In particular, it is the second character (鎭) that is making things difficult. I can’t locate any compound word formed by the first and second characters ( although I do see them occurring together in other texts), and the usual meanings of the individual character itself don’t seem to work here. Is the whole instruction a Taiwanese idiom, maybe?

Anyway, any confirmation that I am on the right track would be helpful, but a detailed explanation would be even better!


I am a lawyer by profession and my practice is Criminal... I mean, I specialize in Criminal law. My work involves travelling on Court circuits to remote Arctic communities. In between my travels I write a Food blog at

15 thoughts on “Translation Help Requested…

  1. My Chinese daughter in law home with me from Beijing for their Irish wedding says the 4 characters read “keep them ice cold for later use”. This refers to the live shrimp. The recipe is for live shrimp only and the idea is to have them stunned and icy cold before cooking. If you need further explanation email me. Julie

    1. The recipe *does* specify live shrimp …. the first part of the instruction must mean that you put the scallions and ginger into boiling water and then only add the shrimp later (後)… ie: after being ‘stunned on ice). I’m going to keep working away at the rest but it sure might be helpful if I can pick your daughter-in-law’s brains later 🙂

  2. I got it a bit wrong. Shan says put the spring onion and scallion into boiling water then put the live shrimp in and take them out once they are cooked and plunge into icy water until you are ready to use them for the next step in the recipe. You’re right that the second character is a compound character that is never used on its own.

    1. AHHH … okay!!! I was beginning to think I must be getting something grammatically wrong in the first part. Nice to know I had it right… I have been getting bizarre Google translations of the two character compound. ‘ice shirts and tops’ is what comes back…. just didn’t seem right LOL

  3. Ha ha, next time email me or write on my blog!

    The Chinese translation is probably from google translator.

    The whole idea is to add green onion and scallion to the boiling water before you put the live shrimps into the water.

    This is a recipe using 紹興酒. You may like to post the whole recipe and let me see . You know taking one sentence from the whole is not a good idea.

    I never tried this, either in restaurants or at home. Perhaps I may learn something this time.

    1. Actually … the translation (painstaking) is mine. Google is useless….

      I am attaching my ‘working sheet’ …. please let me know if you can’t read it.

      And thanx in advance for any help you can offer … As you can see, I am a bit stuck on instruction 3, but I would be pleased if you can tell me I am close on the first 2 steps….

      Cheers and Merry Xmas!


      1. 紹興醉蝦 (shàoxīng zuì xiā) – Shaoxing Drunken Shrimp
        (醬醃 . 白酎 . 涼拌) – (Marinated . Strong Wine . Dressed Salad)

        材料 – Material, stuff
        活白蝦(大) … 600g
        蔥 … 1/2支
        薑 … 2片
        枸杞 … 5g
        當歸 … 1片
        冰糖 … 1/2茶匙 600g Large Live White Shrimp
        ½ Scallion
        2 slices Ginger
        5g Goji Berry
        1 slice Chinese Angelica (dāng guī)
        ½ tsp. (Crystal) Sugar.

        調和料 – Seasoning ingredients
        紹興酒 … 300CC
        鹽 … 1茶匙
        雞粉 … 1/2茶匙 300CC Shaoxing Wine
        1 tsp. Salt
        ½ tsp. Chicken Powder (bouillon)

        作法 – Method
        1. 將蔥薑入滾水中後入活白蝦煮熟 , 冰鎭備用.

        2. 當歸 , 枸杞 , 冰糖加200cc水以小火煮滾 , 5分鐘出味後熄火待涼.

        3. 將調和料興作法2材料混合戊醃泡汁 , 再放入已冰鎭的熟白蝦 , 以保鮮盒密封 , 入冷藏半日即可食用. 1. Add scallion and ginger to boiling water. Add the live shrimp and bring to the boil again. Remove shrimp and keep on ice.

        2. Seethe the angelica, goji berries and sugar in 200CC of water for 5 minutes to extract flavor then remove from heat and let cool.


        – 做醉蝦要選用活蝦 , 味道才會鮮美 , 如家中有白灼蝦未食用完的 , 也可用上述方法做成醉蝦.
        – 家中如無紹興酒 , 可用紅露酒或黃酒, 花雕酒代替 , 酒味濃淡可依家人口味調整. –

  4. Ok, I will try. As this is a North China recipe, it is not our usual way of cooking shrimps. You are pretty good in translating everything. The third step means that after the shrimps are boiled, take them out and ” put them in the fridge”. This will keep the shrimps fresh!

    Then when you get all the mixtures with herbs ready, add them to the shrimps. Place in the refrigerator for half a day, take out and eat. This is a cold dish. No need to boil again.

    醉蝦 is a cold dish. So are others like 醉chicken. They are all cold dishes. Usually as appetizers to go with drinks like spirits ( not wine).

    1. About the last paragraph on tips . It means that if you don’t have 紹興酒, use other types of Chinese spirit. Add the amount according to your own taste. If you have left over boiled shrimps, you can do the same and make them as 醉蝦。

      Enjoy your next experiment, John. I look forward to seeing it posted!


      1. Actually, this is more about translating for learning purposes. I can’t get live shrimp so I won’t be making this any time soon. Your help is much appreciated though 🙂

  5. You don’t have to get live shrimps. I am sure you can use frozen shrimps which you used to have . As to learning, I respect your learning desire. Chinese language is very difficult comparing to English, and you are quite good self learning! If this is a Taiwanese author, the terminology can be very much Japanese. I have a hard time understanding them either though my best friend is a Taiwanese. 冰鎮備用 is not our traditional Chinese terminology. To me, it is probably originated from Japanese.

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