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Sep 22, 2010 09:45 AM

"Better to have given birth to a piece of BBQ pork than you!", "I'd sell my wife to eat fatty winter yellow tail", any other wacky worldy expressions about food?

Some of the older generation folk in Hong Kong voiced their disappointment at their misbehaving kids that caused them so much grief. They would say something like "生舊叉燒好過生你", which would translate to, "better to have given birth to a piece of cha siu/bbq pork than you!". BBQ pork is one of those representative delicious things that everyone craved so much in the old times (bbq pork over rice was one of the definitive comfort foods) and some of the older folk may remember the days when bbq pork was peddeled off a push cart, the grilled meats dangling so much to the point that the bigger pieces would literally scrape the ground.

Also I read somewhere that there's an old saying in Japanese, basically about the winter season of buri (or kanburi) which is a yellowtail variant. Something about "even if you have to sell your wife, you must have a taste of winter buri". Or maybe it was about some other fish.

What other funny wordly expressions are there that involve food?

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  1. In Malaysia they often say "when the durian comes down, the sarongs go up) (Durian is reckoned a powerful aphrodesiac)

    In parts of south east asia when a legal case is really drawing out, they say "It's going ill for the dogs) since dog is often traditionally served at negotiation meals.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jumpingmonk

      Actually, that's not 100% accurate. Durians are expensive, and people sold their sarongs so that they could have money to by it.

    2. I just found another variant of one most Asians have heard before

      食唔清 D 飯會娶個豆皮老婆

      meaning that if you do not finish the rice in your bowl, you will marry a pock marked face wife.

      To which the smart 21st century child might remark...."well dad licks his bowl clean. Then mom why is your face ........?"

      1 Reply
      1. re: K K

        these are great. wish i had some to add....
        jumpingmonk: durian would NOT be making my sarong go up, but instead incite me to wrap it around my mouth so none would get in! stinky poopy stuff - i guess you have to grow up with it!

      2. funny and interesting topic.

        there is a japanese saying: do not let the daughter in law eat autumn eggplants.

        now there are two different stories to it.
        one is because autumn eggplants are so tasty, mother in law did not want her daughter in law to eat.
        the other one is eggplants make your body cool down (it is true) and it is not good for young women who were expecting to have babies so mother in law did not allow them to eat.

        btw, today happens to be the moon watching night.
        in japan they eat rice cake because the two rabbits on the moon are making the rice cake. cute, right?

        1. "Tequila makes her clothes (or sarong) fall off." Amazing stuff, that tequila

          3 Replies
          1. re: BiscuitBoy

            Well, on the flip side, there's "beer goggling!"

            And quite frankly, who are these people who refer to desserts as "better than sex"--I kinda feel sorry for them...and you know I love dessert. ;)

            1. re: kattyeyes

              One of my father's bon mots, from the days when ladies drank only clear spirits: he called gin "pant remover".

          2. The retorts I've heard to "better to have given birth to a piece of bbq pork than you!" include..."well mom that means you admit that you're a pig!".

            Here's another one I found


            It's basically another way of an older generation Chinese Cantonese parent yelling at a kid, that translates to "I've eaten more salt than you have eaten rice!", meaning the parent says he or she has it worse than the kid and has been through life a lot more (in a way degrading the child's intelligence). The retort for that I've read is something like "yeah mom you're right, but we live in an age of MSG, so I've eaten more MSG than you have eaten salt!"

            2 Replies
            1. re: K K

              I think that's not fully accurate. The term is used to mean seniority and experience, not that one had it worse. It's sort of saying that "I've been around way longer such that I've eaten more meals that you have, to the extent of more salt than rice."

              1. re: K K

                Old coot to young whippersnapper: I've done/had/seen more [x] than you've had hot dinners.