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Words of the Day: Ku Gua (Bitter Melon)

Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 By Ni Hao Books

The Words of the Day for today is 苦瓜, kǔ guā (bitter melon). 苦 means bitter, and 瓜 means melon. Chinese people eat a lot of interesting things, and bitter melon is definitely one of more interesting vegetables Chinese put on their plates. It has a bumpy skin, plus the seeds inside are bright red in color. The seeds are not edible, so one has to remove them before cooking. Hence, my husband, who is an ABC (American Born Chinese), always thinks bitter melon shouldn't be eaten, since nature makes it so unappealing. He believes the bitterness is nature's way of saying "don't eat me"!

I, however, grew up eating bitter melon. I definitely didn't enjoy it when I was a kid. But years of brainwashing by my parents worked, whose opinions are opposite to my husband, thinking bitter melon is healthy. So I enjoy it now, and try to feed it to my kids. Unfortunately, the name itself is already a turn off. What kid would want to eat something named "bitter"?


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