At 57 strokes, this daunting Chinese character above is found in the name of Shannxi Province’s popular biangbiang noodles. It is a character that cannot be entered into computer, and is not included in modern dictionaries. Very few people, including the Chinese, can write it correctly without looking at it.
Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping met Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan in Beijing and hosted Lien with Shaanxi cuisine for dinner, since both of them have roots in Shaanxi. During the dinner, Xi not only prepared biangbiang noodles, but also wrote the character down on a small note for Lien to study.
Language learning website studymorechinese.com suggests memorizing the character this way:
“The character is composed of 言 (speak) in the middle flanked by 幺 (tiny) on both sides. Below it, 馬 (horse) is similarly flanked by 長 (grow). This central block itself is surrounded by 月 (moon) to the left, 心 (heart) below, 刂 (knife) on the right, and 八 (eight) above. These in turn are surrounded by a second layer of characters, namely 宀 (roof) on the top and 辶 (walk) curving around the left and bottom.”
Practice this character with your children at home and encourage them to order the wide and chewy noodles next time in the restaurant by writing it down. Don’t be discouraged that you have to write the character twice for the order.
Two of our editors, each taking 28 seconds and 45 seconds to finish, didn’t do well either the first time. Keep on practicing!
Photos: WikiCommons, jennikokodesu (Flickr), and Clemence Jiang