Here in China, the Jewish holiday of Passover has arrived. So today’s entry for Monday Mandarin Meanings has nothing to do with insects, but instead relates to bread:
This is wújiàobǐng, the Mandarin word for matzo (generally pronounced “maht-suh”, for all you Gentiles out there). Matzo is unleavened bread, or bread that has not risen, typically meaning that it has no yeast. This is the cracker-looking bread eaten on Passover to commemorate the Jewish people’s flight from bondage in Egypt, during which there was not enough time for the bread to rise. Reasonably, the Chinese word translates into something like “unleavened flatbread” (“无” is “no” or “not”, “酵” is “leaven”, and “饼” is the word often used for flat breads, pancakes, etc.).
I purchased three boxes of matzo from Taobao, the Chinese version of Amazon.com, and, remarkably, they arrived from Hong Kong in three days. It is a non-kosher, Kupiec brand matzo with “provence herbs”, but it does the trick.