My mother refers to a "bite" as in something to bite on, say raw carrot bits in a stew.

Cambridge only refers to the food sense noun as a strong taste, though:

bite noun (STRONG TASTE) › [U] If ​food has bite, it has a ​sharp or ​strong ​taste: I like ​mustard with bite.

That still applies if it were pickles in a tuna salad, but can "bite" also refer to food texture alone? I think it might be more versatile than "crunch" or "chewy".

What is the best word to describe under-cooked carrot bits in a stew, as well as pickle bits in a tuna salad?

  • Maybe firm or crunchy? – Dan Bron Mar 24 '16 at 20:47
  • Homeguides SFGate has: '... water chestnuts keep their crunchiness even when well cooked.' An article on Facebook has: 'If water chestnuts keep their crunch after cooking, does this mean that ...'. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 24 '16 at 20:56
  • Are you talking about al dente or just plain raw? – Jim Mar 24 '16 at 20:56
  • Al dente, but that doesn't fit the pickles, which I'd call chewy. – Cees Timmerman Mar 24 '16 at 20:57
  • I call that texture- crunchy, chewy, crispy, are all textures. Pickle bits add an interesting texture to tuna salad. I have heard people use “bite” but it strikes me as colloquial. “Mouth feel” is also a term but is usually used for liquids and smooth and creamy textures like ice cream. – Jim Mar 25 '16 at 1:05

For carrots in particular you'd describe them as "crunchy". Food with "bite" can either be firm to the tooth or, as you note, strong or pungent in flavour.

  • 4
    Do you have a source for the firm sense? – Cees Timmerman Mar 24 '16 at 20:48

Perhaps al dente covers this, as it

describes pasta and vegetables, rice or beans that are cooked to be firm to the bite.

  • But the pickles aren't cooked, are they? – Cees Timmerman Mar 24 '16 at 22:33
  • 1
    Pickles may use processed cucumbers (hot water bath for a few minutes). – jxh Mar 24 '16 at 23:57

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