Mochi is an example of a food with the chewy Q texture.
Tapioca balls in boba milk tea is another example.

In Hokkien-speaking areas, Q (Chinese: 𩚨; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: khiū) is a culinary term for the ideal texture of many foods, such as noodles, boba,[1][2][3][4][5] fish balls and fishcakes.[6] Sometimes translated as "chewy", the texture has been described as "The Asian version of al-dente ... soft but not mushy."[7] Another translation is "springy and bouncy".[6] It also appears in a doubled more intense form, "QQ".[7]

The term originates from the Hokkien word khiū (𩚨),[8][9] which has a sound similar to the letter "Q" in English, and has since been adopted by other forms of Chinese, such as Mandarin.[10] The use of the letter "Q" to represent khiū (𩚨) may have originated in Taiwan, but it is also widely used in Chinese speaking communities outside of Taiwan.[11]

"Q" in Sinitic languages has several other meanings, such as a shorthand for the English word "cute".[11]


  1. ^ Qin, Amy (2018-10-14). "In Italy, 'Al Dente' Is Prized. In Taiwan, It's All About Food That's 'Q.'". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-14.
  2. ^ Munchies Staff (2015-03-18). "The Mysterious 'Q Texture' You Didn't Even Know Your Food Was Missing". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  3. ^ Spiegel, Alison (2015-03-18). "This Taiwanese Food Term Will Change the Way You Look at Gummy Candy". Vice. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  4. ^ Russell, Laura (2017-05-01). "The Curious Case of Q". Roads & Kingdoms. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  5. ^ Mair, Victor (2010-04-15). "Is Q a Chinese Character?". Language Log. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  6. ^ a b Erway, Kathy (2015). The Food of Taiwan. New York: Houghton Miller Harcourt. pp. 203–204. ISBN 9780544303010.
  7. ^ a b Lim, Stephanie (2016-05-13). "What is ... QQ?". Michelin Guide. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  8. ^ Kangxi Dictionary: page 1417, character 34
  9. ^ "𩚨 - 臺語萌典". 臺語萌典. Retrieved 2023-07-12. 形容食物柔軟而有彈性、韌性。
  10. ^ Quartly, Jules (2020-01-21). "The True Story of Q". Taiwan Business TOPICS. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  11. ^ a b "Language Log » Is Q a Chinese Character?". Retrieved 2023-12-31.