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Useful Cantonese Words in Hong Kong

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1. How to request for excluding specific ingredient from a dish in restaurant?

Another useful Cantonese word in restaurant to share with you guys : "Jau" (走). It means to exclude specific ingredient from a dish. A very common example is "Jau Cheng" (走青), which means "Run Green" in direct translation, but in this case it means excluding spring onion and/or parsley in a bowl of noodle or congee. E.g. If you don't like oil to be added in a dish of boiled vegetable (油菜), you can say "Jau Yau" (走油). Then how about a cup of black coffee? We don't say "Jau Tong Jau Nai" (走糖走奶) which is kinda lengthy, we call it "Jaai Feh" (齋啡).

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2. How to place your food order in a restaurant?

When we are ready to place order at a local restaurant, we say "Ng Goi, Seh Ye!" (唔該, 寫?!), with "Ng Goi" means Please, "Seh Ye" means Jot Down Something in direct translation and in this case, means Placing Order.

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3. How to say takeaway in a restaurant?

We say "Ling Jau" (拎走) or "Hang Gaai" (行街) and we hardly say "Da Bao" (打包), which generally means wrapping a dead body.

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4. How to request for a booth seat in a restaurant?

If you want a "booth seat" in a Hong Kong restaurant for more comfy seating , you may say you would like to have a "car wai" (卡位) in Cantonese to the waitress.

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5. How to say drinks other than water in a restaurant?

For any drinks other than water, we use to call it "yeh yum" (?飲) rather than "sui" (水), which is commonly mistaken by some Cantonese speakers in other countries. In Hong Kong, try to use the exact words to express the real meaning to avoid misunderstanding.

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6. Discount sign in Chinese character in most of shops/restaurants in Hong Kong?

Sometimes the discount sign in most of the shops/restaurants in Hong Kong could be misleading to some first time tourists. You got to be careful on whether the sign on the right-hand side of the 2 digits is indeed a percentage sign, %, or a Chinese charactor, "折" (jit). If it a "%" then it's a universal discount sign but what if it's "折"? Then it'll be the other way round! E.g. if it says "85折" then it's 15% discount...

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7. How to say $100, $10,000 and $100,000 in a more casual Cantonese speaking with friends?

Does anyone know how to say $100, $10,000 and $100,000 in a more casual Cantonese speaking with friends, which is commonly used? $100 is "yat gau sui" (一舊水), $10,000 is "yat pei yeh" (一皮野) and $100,000 is "yat beng" (一餅). Remember don't use them in restaurants or shops, which may not be appropriate. Then you may ask how to say $1,000... its "yat dung sui" (一戙水), which I never even heard it before as it is somehow not frequently in use in daily life.

香港廣東話錢嘅大細叫法 by Wikipedia

$1= 一雞/一銀/一蚊

$10= 10蚊/青蟹(舊時10元紙幣是綠色)/10雞/一草(草花頭上是個十字)/一條

$100= 一斤/一篙(即一舊)/一篙水(一舊水)/紅衫魚(因為一百元多數用紅色)

$1000= 一叉水/一撇水/一戙水(千字的中間一戙)/金牛(因為金色)/1K(因為英文1K=1 Kilo=一千)/一猜

$10,000= 一雞/一皮野/一個/一粒/一盤水/一餅

$100,000= 十雞/十個/十皮野

$200,000= 廿個

$1,000,000= 一球

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8. How to say different sizes for clothes in Cantonese?

Besides transliterating the English word "size" to "Saai Si", how do we say different sizes for clothes in Cantonese? We use to say size as "Ma" (碼). E.g :

Extra Small = Ga Sai Ma (加細碼)

Small = Sai Ma (細碼)

Medium = Jung Ma (中碼)

Large = Daai Ma (大碼)

Extra Large = Ga Daai Ma (加大碼)

So how about odd size then? We call it "Tuen Ma" (斷碼)

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9. Escalator vs Lift/Elevator in Cantonese

Generally we use to say "Din Tai" (電梯) or "Fu Sau Din Tai" (扶手電梯) for escalator, and "lip" [車立], written in one word that cannot be typed/found in any Chinese input method, for lift/elevator. Some non-local may think that "Din Tai" also represent lift but for local, it is understood that it refers to an escalator in general.

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10. How to say Money Exchange in Cantonese?

Hong Kong is a shoppers' paradise, what if you're running of HKD and burst your credit card at the same time? A good solution is to find a money changer! Money changer is called "Jaau Woon Dim" 找換店 in Cantonese, and to exchange money you may say you wanna "Cheung Chin" 唱錢 to the staff.

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11. Plus 10% = Plus One in Cantonese?!

Plus 10% service charge is common in Hong Kong's food & beverage industry, but don't be surprised when you read 加一服務費 (direct translation "Plus ONE service charge") in a Chinese menu, which is actually means the same. 加一 (Ga Yat) has been widely used in local restaurants and probably it's because Chinese say 10% as 一成, thus 加一 as a simplified form of 加一成服務費. When you read "免加一" on menu, that means "NO Plus 10% is needed".

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hihi, This is what we have shared on Facebook :)

Learning how to express gratitude is always the basic of language learning. While most languages/dialects use the same words to express thankfulness, in spoken Cantonese we use 2 different words to express. To thank someone who did you a favour, we say "NG GOI (唔該)", and we say "DOH JE (多謝)" when we're granted something tangible (e.g. gifts) or intangible (e.g. compliments, felicitation, opportunities...etc.). So now you know how to thank someone in Cantonese when travelling in Hong Kong (of course "thank you" is still the universal word that everybody will understand~)

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