True sign that HK is a foodie's paradise? Char siu, dai pai dong, and other food words now in Oxford English Dictionary

True sign that HK is a foodie's paradise? Char siu, dai pai dong, and other food words now in Oxford English Dictionary

More Hong Kong and Singaporean terms added to Oxford English Dictionary, including yum cha, milk tea, wet market

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Hong Kong’s street-food stalls may be getting thin on the ground thanks to officialdom’s refusal to issue new licences, but recognition has come for the dai pai dong with the term’s incorporation into the Oxford English Dictionary.
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

Char siu, dai pai dong, siu mei, yum cha and milk tea are now officially part of the English language. The Oxford English Dictionary has - belatedly, some might say - included 13 more Hong Kong terms in its latest update.

Food-related terms dominated the list. The other terms added were compensated dating, kaifong, guanxi, lucky money, sandwich class, shroff and sitting-out area.

A long list of terms originating in Hong Kong have been added to the English dictionary over the years, including typhoon, amah, nullah, ketchup, godown and chop.

Singaporean English terms have also been added to the Oxford dictionary, including blur (“slow in understanding; unaware, ignorant, confused), ang moh (“a light-skinned person, esp. of Western origin or descent; a Caucasian”), sabo (“to harm, inconvenience, or make trouble for (a person); to trick, play a prank on”) and HDB (“a public housing estate”).


The full list of the new Hong Kong English words and their definitions

Char siu: roast pork marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce. According to the OED.
Photo: Rennaissance Hong Kong
  • Char siu: roast pork marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce
  • Compensated dating: the practice of teenage students providing companionship or sex in exchange for money or gifts
  • Dai pai dong: an open-air food stall
  • Kaifong: traditional mutual aid organisations
  • Guanxi: the system of social networks and influential relationships which facilitate business and other dealings
  • Lucky money: red envelopes containing money typically handed out by elders and adults at Lunar New Year
  • Sandwich class: an informal term used to refer to the middle class
  • Milk tea: a drink made from black tea and milk, usually evaporated or condensed
  • Shroff: a cashier, especially at a car park
  • Sitting-out area: small recreational spaces provided in urban areas
  • Siu mei: generic name given to roasted meats
  • Yum cha: a type of Chinese-style brunch tea
  • Wet market: a market selling fresh meat and produce

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