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Make Desserts and Learn the Chinese Zodiac (Episode 3): Tiger and Rabbit Macarons

MILLIE | JUNE 30, 2020
This is the third episode of our Yoyo Chinese video series, “Make Desserts and Learn Chinese”! If you missed the first two episodes of the series, you can check it out here: 

Episode 3: Tiger and Rabbit Macarons

Check out Episode 3 of the series below, where we learn how to make macarons - 马卡龙 (mǎ kǎ lóng), that look like the tiger - 虎 (hǔ), and the rabbit - 兔 (tù)

These macarons look super tasty, and they’re too cute!

You’ll also learn some interesting facts about these two zodiac animals in Chinese culture!

If you’d like to know what your Chinese zodiac is, you can find it in this handy infographic:

The Tiger - 虎 (hǔ) 

Did you know that in China, the tiger is known as the “King of the Jungle”? So you may notice that when a Chinese person draws a tiger, they often write the character 王 (wáng) - king - on its head:

There are several words in Chinese that use the character 虎 (hǔ), perhaps the most noteworthy one is the word 马虎 (mǎ hu) - or 马马虎虎 (mǎ ma hū hū). This means “careless” in Chinese.

There’s actually an interesting story about how the word 马虎 (mǎ hu) came to mean “careless”. Legend has it that there was a painter in the Song Dynasty that painted however he wanted to, and one day he had just finished painting the head of a tiger when someone asked him to paint a horse. He then made the body into a horse, with the original head of a tiger.

When the person asked him what he painted, he said it was a “horse tiger”. The customer didn’t want the painting, so the painter hung it up in his room. 

When his younger son asked him what the painting was of, he told him it was a tiger, but when his elder son asked, he said it was a horse. Later his older son went out and killed someone’s horse, thinking it was a tiger, and the younger son was eaten by a tiger, thinking it was a horse. So now the word 马虎 (mǎ hu) is used to describe someone who is careless in doing things.

Zodiac Years: If you were born in 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 or 2010, your Chinese zodiac is the tiger.

Zodiac Traits: People born in the year of the tiger are thought to be generous, courageous, intelligent, candid, confident, trustworthy and goal-oriented. Their weaknesses include being arrogant, hasty, and having a short temper at times. 

Suitable Careers: Those with the tiger as their zodiac tend to make great managers, executives, politicians, and positions in leadership or management, although they should be careful to keep their temper in check.

Compatibility: Those born in the year of the tiger tend to get along well with people born in the year of the dragon, horse, and pig. Their worst matches are those with ox, tiger, snake, or monkey zodiacs.

The Rabbit - 兔 (tù)

The personalities of the tiger and rabbit are pretty complementary!

Zodiac Years: If you were born in the years 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, or 2011, you were born in the year of the rabbit!

Zodiac Traits: People that have the rabbit as their zodiac are said to be gentle, kind, quiet, empathetic, modest, and are good listeners. Their weaknesses are that they tend to be hesitant, timid, and a bit stubborn at times.

Suitable Careers: People born in the year of the rabbit tend to do well with creative jobs in the arts, music, and literature. They also do well in jobs that require observation and communication, such as PR representatives, teachers, translators and business consultants.

Compatibility: Their best matches are those born in the year of the sheep, monkey, dog, and pig, and their worst matches are the snake and rooster.

Key Vocabulary in Episode 3: 

  • 杏仁粉 (xìng rén fěn) - almond powder
  • 糖粉 (táng fěn) - powdered sugar
  • 砂糖 (shā táng) - granulated sugar
  • 蛋清 (dàn qīng) / 蛋白 (dàn bái) - egg whites
  • 马斯克彭奶酪 (mǎ sī kè péng nǎi lào) - Mascarpone cheese  
  • 色素 (sè sù) - pigment/food coloring
  • 塔塔粉 (tǎ tǎ fěn) - cream of tartar
  • 王 (wáng) - king
  • 马虎 (mǎ hu) - careless
  • 虎 (hǔ) - tiger
  • 兔 (tù) - rabbit
  • 马卡龙 (mǎ kǎ lóng) - macaroon

These macarons are delicious - try to make them at home!

Recipe Ingredients:


  • Almond powder: 2 oz
  • Powdered sugar: 3.5 oz
  • Granulated sugar: 1.75 oz
  • Egg whites: 2 oz
  • Mascarpone cheese: 200g
  • Food coloring: use as needed (a few drops)


  • Cream of tartar: 200g

Learn More

Look out for Episode 4 of this series to see how to make Madeleines that look like the horse and the dragon! 

马虎的故事你记住了吗? (mǎ hu de gù shi nǐ jì zhù le ma) - Are you guys able to remember the story about “ma hu”?

Let us know in the comments below!

To learn more about other meanings of 马马虎虎 (mǎ ma hū hū) and how to use it, check out this lesson from our Beginner Course

To learn about some cute nicknames for cats, including the character 虎 (hǔ), check out this lesson from our Upper Intermediate Course

If you’re just starting to learn Chinese, Level 1 (40+ lessons) of our Beginner Conversational Course is FREE, so check out the first lesson here.