The Chinese character 食

And its meaning component form 

(trad: 飠)


  1. food radical
  2. “to eat” radical

The Chinese meaning component comes from the word  shí, which means to eat or food.

饣is a meaning character component

Everything you need to know about the Chinese character component 山 mountain in an easily downloadable and sharable image

is used as a meaning component in Chinese characters. You’ll find in characters and words related directly or indirectly to eating or food.

These characters all contain  and have a direct link with eating:



to be hungry


to be full, to have eaten one’s fill


food, cuisine, meal, cooked rice


to drink

Food-related words in Chinese that contain the meaning component 饣

These characters all contain the meaning component  and are all  yummy food items:


cookie, cake, pastry


(often with a meat filling — also known as 饺子)


Chinese ravioli
(also known as 混沌)


stuffing, filling

The character component  in words that aren’t directly related to food

The meaning component can be found in Chinese characters and words that are related to food or eating, which makes sense. You can also find the meaning component 饣 in characters that are less directly related to food or eating.

That’s either because their meaning has evolved over time, or because the characters’ meanings used to involve mountains before and no longer does. Sometimes  饣is also the phonetic component in a character, so always ask yourself when you run into it: does it indicate something that has to do with food here?

Most of the time it will, but sometimes, just so you know, it won’t. Mandarin is a living language, so that’s not surprising!


You can find the character component used in words indirectly related to food or unrelated to food, such as:

ráo: rich, abundant, exuberant

shì: decoration, ornament


You’ll also find the meaning component  for food in many other Chinese characters: Browse the full list here. 

All 80,000+ Chinese characters share the same character components. Chinese character components are therefore essential for Chinese learners: they are the building blocks of Chinese. Chinese character components help tremendously with understanding a character: they provide information on its meaning or on its pronunciation. In short, knowing character components will help you analyse, learn and remember each Chinese character much better.

Join us on Ninchanese as we teach you everything about the Chinese character components you need to know, little by little.

Related: Explore character components one by one, with this selection of meaning components and phonetic components.

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NinchaneseChinese Character Component饣food (meaning)