Word: 彈牙, bouncing teeth, or al dente

One of the few recommendations that I take from my mum regarding television shows (sorry, mum!) is this half-hour weekly magazine format Cantonese-language Toronto lifestyle show called Trendy Zone. I both love and loathe the idea of a Vancouver version of the show. There’s a good chance I’d know some of the co-hosts and their exuberant fob-isms would drive me up a wall.

In a recent episode where they visited Mei Nung Beef Noodle House, the co-hosts kept extolling over and over again the texture of the handmade noodles. “Wah! They are so 彈牙!” It meant the noodles were so springy, al dente you might call it. There was no other adjective they would use and the female co-host would chortle in delight and say it and then so would the male after taking a bite from his dish. I barely had to listen since, loving Taiwanese noodles, I already decided to check the place out.

I take my Chinese expressions quite literally and it means “bounce teeth” because al dente noodles have that initial resistence like a spring. It’s an overused term to describe noodles and some seafood and I cringe hearing it again while also delighting how descriptive the language is.

At the end of the episode, at least the co-hosts poked fun of themselves for having such 彈牙 food when the male co-host mimed a dental procedure to fix the jaws of his co-host initially stuck ajar because the noodles had 彈 so much her 牙!

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