Chinese Tuesdays: Kiwifruit


After looking up macaque and finding out that it's a kind of monkey, I had a good chuckle to myself over the Chinese calling kiwifruit macaque peach, 猕猴桃 (mí hóu táo). What a silly name, I thought – maybe they look like the back of a monkey’s head? The Baidu Baike page on macaque peaches says they are so named because macaques consider the fruit one of their favourite forest delicacies. It even has some peeling methods, with helpful pictures.

Various other Chinese names are listed: 奇异果 (qíyìguǒ), 藤梨 (ténglí), 毛梨 (máolí), 猕猴梨 (míhóulí), 阳桃 (yángtáo), 山洋桃 (shānyángtáo), 狐狸桃 (húlitáo), 野梨 (yělí), and 猴仔梨 (hóuzǎizǐlí). That's: wonder fruit (because 奇异 sounds like kiwi), vine pear, hairy pear, macaque pear, sun peach, mountain ocean peach, fox peach, wild pear, and baby monkey pear. Wikipedia adds a couple more: 木子 (mùzi) and 毛木果 (máomùguǒ), wood berry and hairy tree fruit.

It also turns out that the kiwifruit is native to China, and that the Kiwis have hoodwinked the world in a stroke of marketing genius. Well played, NZ.

This Chinese Tuesdays post originally appeared on Sam Duncan's blog