An edible ‘landmark’ of Wuhan

Whilst it rained with ice balls in Northern Ireland only a few days ago, people in China have already turned to ice-creams for the cool taste. More popular than the tastes are perhaps the variety of shapes of ice-creams that resemble those local features and places of interest. Here’s what Xuewei YANG (杨雪薇), a QUB alumnus, brings to us.

About the Yellow Crane Tower

As a long-standing landmark dating back to 223 A.D. the Yellow Crane Tower served as a social place for ancient celebrities and poets to gather and depart, with joy or sorrow. To date, there has been a great collection of ancient literary works like poems and essays related to the site. The existing tower is a complete reconstruction and is the result of 4-year-long work beginning in 1981. 51.4 meters high, the five-storey tower, with yellow tiles and red pillars, has been regarded the symbol of Wuhan.


I took a trip to Wuhan during the May 1st International Labour Day holiday and I paid a visit to the Yellow Crane Tower which is located on Snake Hill in Wuchang, one of the three districts of Wuhan city.
I was amazed at seeing those ice cream bars on site as the shape of the bars looks like the miniature of the Tower. More interesting is that I was told to eat it from the left (west) side. You know why? So funny that it is associated with the poem every Chinese should know: “故人西辞黄鹤楼,烟花三月下扬州”.


The pun

This verse of the poem above can be translated as

At Yellow Crane Tower in the west my old friend bids farewell;
In the mist and flowers of spring he goes down to Yangzhou.

Here “西辞” means “告别西边 (bid farewell to the west)”, because Yangzhou, a city of Jiangsu province, is to the far east of Wuhan. So here goes the pun – “辞” (cí, to bid farewell) sounds similar to “吃” (chī, to eat). Hence, it makes the meaning as if “my old friend eats the Yellow Crane Tower (ice cream bar) from its west (left) side”. 

The west side also refers to the left side if one looks at a map or a picture. Image@Liang WANG

Learn the words and phrases

  • 黄鹤楼 (Huánghèlóu) – Yellow Crane Tower; 黄 (huáng) – yellow, 鹤 (hè) – crane, 楼 (lóu) – building such as blocks and towers
  • 雪糕 (xuě gāo) – ice cream bar, sorbet; 雪 (xuě) – snow, 糕 (gāo) – Chinese cakes or pastry
  • 故人 (gù rén) – old friend
  • 西 (xī) / 西边 (xī biān) – west side
  • 左 (zuǒ) / 左边 (zuǒ biān) – left side
  • 辞 (cí) / 辞别 (cí bié) – to bid farewell
  • 吃 (chī) – to eat
  • 好吃 (hǎo chī) – tasty, delicious
  • 好玩 (hǎo wán) – fun

More to explore

Museums, historical sites and tourist attractions across China, such as the Summer Palace, the National Museum and the Yellow Crane Tower have also introduced ice cream bars, sorbets as well as other creative food and products to expand their cultural reach.


If you have had tasted different ice cream bars or sorbets, please reply in the box below to help share your photos.

2 thoughts on “An edible ‘landmark’ of Wuhan

  1. Thank you for posting. Really enjoyed this insight into Wuhan and I’m already learning the new vocabulary <3

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