Difference Between “点心” and “零食”

One of the iTunes’ reviews brought me attention recently. I think it is a very good topic to discuss here by Kids Chinese Podcast Newsletter.

I speak Chinese(mother tongue), English and Japanese. By my experience, due to culture difference, some times, to find the accurate match to translate one language to another is extremely difficult. For example, to translate a Chinese word into English is much more difficult than Japanese, because of more culture difference between east and west.

The review mentioned that “snack” is not a good match with “点心(diǎnxin)“, and “零食(língshí)” is a better match. The review suggested that “点心(diǎnxin)” means dim sum.

I agree that there may be better translation in Kids Chinese Podcast Chinese lessons due to my limited knowledge on both English language and culture, or even not deep enough on Chinese various local culture. I was born and lived in north China, I also lived in south China for several years.

By my understanding, in Hong Kong or Guangdoung(a province in south China) “点心(diǎnxin)” means dim sum, a Cantonese style breakfast. In north China, like Beijing, the capital of China, “点心(diǎnxin)” means light food used between meals when hungry. While “零食(língshí)” means light foods eaten for entertaining mainly, or easing hunger.

Examples of “点心(diǎnxin)”  are biscuit, cracker, etc.
Examples of “零食(língshí)” are candy, ice cream, etc.
Usually, people think “点心(diǎnxin)” are healthier than “零食(língshí)“. However, I do feel difficult to draw a clear line between them.

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