Fun Cantonese 101: Food

Food is an essential part of every culture. Each culture has its own unique cuisine, etiquette, utensils, and even kitchen and dining layout. It is from cultural food, cooking methods, spices, local ingredients, unique pots, and pans the truth of a culture is revealed.

5 Common Phrases that related to Food


[eat-lemons.png]   Simplified Chinese: 食柠檬 Mandarin Chinese: 吃檸檬 Pronunciation: sihk lìhng mūng Meaning: Eat Lemons. You reject others and make them feel embarrassed. This phrase is specifically to describe the rejections you will face in dating. Example: A man dresses up and buys flowers to ask a girl on a date. The girl rejects him. His friends would say "she gave you lemons to eat" or they would say that the man ate that girls' lemons.        


Simplified Chinese: 猪扒 Mandarin Chinese:豬扒 Pronunciation: jyū pá Meaning: Pork Chop. It describes any ugly, chunky, or unattractive female. It is hurtful to say, so be careful when using it. Example: She is such a "pork chop" she is rude, doesn't take care of herself, and lacks any hygiene.    


Simplified Chinese: 正菜 Mandarin Chinese:正菜 Pronunciation: jeng choi Meaning: (It is an opposite to 豬扒) Good Veggie. It describes any female who is beautiful with a great body. * It's interesting that Chinese likes use veggies to describe females. For example, people ask a boy about his "veggie", which is his girlfriend. In this link (sorry, in Traditional Chinese only) has a pretty good answer that includes a little history too. Example: whoa, guys look over there! There is some "good veggies," let's go and talk to them.  


Simplified Chinese: 抄鱿鱼 Mandarin Chinese: 抄魷魚 Pronunciation: chaáu yaùh yúh Meaning: Fried Squids. It means to get fired from your job. * A little history behind this phrase: In the past, a store with an apartment attached was a common thing. When hired to work in a store, the owner would also provide lodging. When fired, a person would have to pack and leave. It is a difficult situation and fired employee was described as a piece of squid that "curled" from cooking, probably because they slouched from shame. "Curled" also means that the life is not smooth anymore. Example: My dad just got "fried squid", so my mom has to work full-time.  


Simplified Chinese: 唔好扮哂蟹 Mandarin Chinese: 不要假装成蟹 Pronunciation: mh hóu baan sai haaíh Meaning: Don't pretend to be a crab. It means someone is pretending or faking abilities. * Not sure why it is a "crab" instead of other some animal, but "crab" sounds good as an ending in this phrase, so people use it. Example: Tell him "don't pretend to be a crab", I know he really is a mean person, and that this 'nice guy' appearance is just an act.    

Any fun phrases for the list?

Or any similar phrases in your native language?

If you have any suggestion or questions, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at Thank you so much stopping by and for your support.


In the Next Post, you will see...

  1. 雞同鴨講 - chicken talk to duck
  2. 執死雞 - grab the dead chicken
  3. 落湯雞 - down soup chicken
  4. 靜雞雞 - quiet chicken chicken
  5. 雞啄唔斷 - chicken bit never break
  Don't chicken out! We are going to have 5 fun Cantonese "chicken" phrases.   ******************************************************************* I am a mother of three who married a wonderful Japanese American man. I am a pianist, vocalist, chorister, former Chinese teacher, who graduated in Linguistics Major with TESOL and Music minor from BYU. I have been sharing on my blog about Chinese Homeschooling for six months now. I also share Chinese language learning resources via my blog for helping parents home-school their dual language or multilingual children (ages 3-6). Come visit my blog - FORTUNE COOKIE MOM now!


NihaoHello aims to cater to the new generation's growing interest to learn Mandarin Chinese. Homeschool and specialise in tutoring English speakers to speak essential but confident Mandarin Chinese. For beginner language learners to readily put to use as soon as the global recession recovers.