13 July 2011

Спаржa, Not Спраже

I was spelling and pronouncing the Russian word for tofu sticks wrong. Not wrong enough that people didn't know what I was asking for, but wrong enough that I didn't find it in the dictionary.  I should have looked at the package more carefully.

For some unknown reason (Google didn't know, at least) the word for tofu sticks is the same as the word for asparagus.  So even though I messed up the spelling, I wasn't as wrong as one blog I saw that referred to it as white asparagus.  I'm not sure that it would be possible to make the vegetable sparzha look like the soy sparzha. 

Anyway, I guess it's sometimes called Korean asparagus or soy asparagus here, for obvious reasons, especially since any generic "Eastern" dish gets "Korean" tacked on, unless it's more clearly from some other place. I'm a little skeptical that it's entirely Korean, especially in my town.  I've had plenty of sparzha with Dungans.

I'd be interested to learn more about this, but I'm not really sure where I could look.  I can at least ask around here to find out if people think it's specifically Korean.  Even if they say it is though, that might just mean that's it's officially culturally Korean, even if Dungans or Uyghurs also brought it with them. 

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