Coffee & Tea

Hong Kong cafe (tea restaurant) and Dai Pai Dong jargon / slang as used by employees in the 60s/70s (and to a lesser extent, now)

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Hong Kong cafe (tea restaurant) and Dai Pai Dong jargon / slang as used by employees in the 60s/70s (and to a lesser extent, now)

K K | Nov 30, 2010 03:05 PM

Posting here due to increased interested from the Manhattan NY thread about Hong Kong milk tea.

Every restaurant out there globally one form or another, I'm sure uses particular jargon or slang.
I'm sure you've heard the sushi restaurant jargon like "murasaki" for soy sauce (meaning purple), or "shoga" referring to ginger.

For Hong Kong cafe's or cha chaan teng, at least during the 60s and 70s, the jargon came about as a result of efficiency, where waitstaff would have to yell to cashier or kitchen for ordering things (which became part of the ambience inadvertently).

Like for instance

靚仔 (handsome or young lad, leng jai) = white rice
靚仔化妝 (handsome boy putting on makeup, leng jai fa dzong) = white rice with soy sauce
靚女 (pretty girl, leng lui) = plain congee / jook
扣底 (discount/lessen the bottom, kau dai) = less rice
雙扣 (double discount/lessen, seung kau) = basically smaller portion of meat/topping and rice (rice plate or bowl)
細蓉 (sai yung) = really old school jargon for small bowl of won ton noodles
打爛 (to break into pieces, da laan) = fried rice
茶走 (tea go/run, tsa dzow) = meaning hot milk tea with no sugar, but use condensed milk to sweeten instead
加色 (add color, ga sik) = extra soy sauce, or in some restaurants, add some beef brisket gravy (to the rice)
走色 (runaway color/remove color, jow sik) = no soy sauce
肥妹 (chubby lil girl/sister) = chocolate (drink)
夏惠姨 = basically phonetic pronounciation of Hawaii. No idea why, but it means "French Toast"

and my favorites

和尚跳海 (wor seung tiu hoi, or monk committing suicide by jumping into the ocean) - basically a drink of a raw egg cracked into a glass of boiling water, perhaps the visual effect does resemble a monk jumping into the ocean.

咪嘔住(mai ngau ju, don't vomit yet) - ham and beef sandwich

打飛機 (hit the airplane....da fei gei) = this is actually naughty slang used to refer to male masturbation :-o. Maybe it is chosen as the jargon because it sounds similar to 抹銀器 (maat ngun hei) which means polishing the silverware... so when an employee is told to "hit the airplane", it just means to clean some dishes/forks/spoons/knives etc.

Some of this jargon ended up or evolved as code words when waitstaff took customers orders.

206----------- hot coca cola with lemon

306-----------hot lemon cola with ginger

29-----------hot milk

T = milk tea

CT = iced milk tea

F = coffee

CF = iced coffee

OT = hot lemon tea

COT = iced lemon tea

CO6 = iced coca cola with lemon

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