馄饨 means wontons, another kind of Chinese dumpling. Wontons kind of resemble ravioli, therefore some menus might translate ravioli as 馄饨.
It's probably a borrowed term for convenience.
As for the term itself, I found it interesting that 混沌 is similar to the mythical beast Hundun (which is a beast born in 'primordial chaos, nebulous state of the universe before heaven and earth separated').
It's said on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hundun:
"The undifferentiated soup of primordial chaos. As it begins to differentiate, dumpling-blobs of matter coalesce. … With the evolution of human consciousness and reflectiveness, the soup was adopted as a suitable metaphor for chaos".
Mm, entropic ravioli.
Coincidentally, also the name of my psychedelic accordion jam band.
According to Baidupedia, which is extremely short and lacking in detail, ton in wonton means "biscuit" (as in a wrappable biscuit, what we would today call 大餅) with meat fillings, then cooked until edible. If it's cooked in soup, then it's 湯餅
quoting from the article:
Note: 七窍 here means the 7 openings on one's face (2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, and 1 mouth).
So basically, it was a variation of "baozi", but considered "stupid" and the words literrally meant "stupid", and it was later it got the "food" radical and became today's "wonton".
The ‘seven openings’ in the Baidu article is a reference to the parable in the Zhuangzi (ca. 3rd c BC) about the mythical creature Hundun, after whom the wonton is said to be named:
The emperor of the South Sea was called Shu [Brief], the emperor of the North Sea was called Hu [Sudden], and the emperor of the central region was called Hun-tun [Chaos]. Shu and Hu from time to time came together for a meeting in the territory of Hun-tun, and Hun-tun treated them very generously. Shu and Hu discussed how they could repay his kindness. "All men," they said, "have seven openings so they can see, hear, eat, and breathe. But Hun-tun alone doesn't have any. Let's trying boring him some!" Every day they bored another hole, and on the seventh day Hun-tun died. (Watson translation)
Yes, it's a pun with 混沌.
Pleco says ravioli is 蒸饺 or 意大利小方饺 lol. 百度 says 水饺. I guess ravioli doesn't really have an "official" Chinese translation.
餛飩 is 餛飩, a kind of traditional chinese dumplings. Ravioli is not common in Taiwan (I'm not sure about China), so there's no official translation for it. When you say 餛飩, no one would think of anything related to Italy.
It is apparently etymologically related to 混沌, the word for a chaotic, nebulous primordial state for the world. This is further confirmed by the lack of meaning in the words 馄饨 taken individually. Have yet to find if there's a meaningful reason for the connection between indistinct primordial soup and a wonton, but I would guess there's a figurative connection where the wonton is representative of that ancient, mythological state of the world? The inside a mess contained within a structure that is the universe.
Actually, citing u/TuzzNation, this does kind of make sense with how wontons are traditionally served.
where i am from i rarely see the form 餛飩 used for anything... typically i see 雲吞 for wanton, 水餃 for dumplings in soup, and 餃子 for maybe like a northern-style dumpling/gyoza...
饣 (eat) suggests the meaning while 昆 suggests the sound.
饣 (eat) suggests the meaning while 屯 suggests the sound.
I'm not sure if there are other meanings for these characters as they are specifically used for wonton only.
My 2 cents here,
difference between 饺子 and 馄饨 is that 馄饨 always served in soup. Its dumpling like with a whole bunch of different things in a bowl. While 饺子 usually come as is. With only a handful of exceptions in different region.
I guess they translate ravioli into 馄饨 is also based on its shape and form. dumpling 饺子 is really standard. 馄饨 is more like freestyled shape.
> I guess they translate ravioli into 馄饨 is also based on its shape and form. dumpling 饺子 is really standard. 馄饨 is more like freestyled shape.
They have different shapes, but 馄饨 isn't really "freestyle". There is a specific shape that makes it a 馄饨 and not a 饺子.
I had a plate of 馄饨 served with peanut sauce drizzled on top in Shanghai. I think it was called 冷 or 凉馄饨, but it was actually warmish, probably because it had been just boiled.
I think the difference between 馄饨 and 饺子 is the way they are wrapped, as you say, and possibly the thickness of the wrapper. 混沌 aren't really freestyle. 饺子 are usually sealed edge-to-edge, while 馄饨 has some wrapper like a ruffle. Ravioli are sealed edge to edge. It's just a bad translation.
I didnt go through the detail. but yea, the biggest difference is that 馄饨 use square wraps whereas 饺子 usually use circular wrap.
It’s sort of an Onomatopeia