What does this say about Hong Kong? Food words lead new Oxford dictionary entries

More Hong Kong and Singaporean terms added to Oxford English Dictionary, including yum cha, milk tea, wet market, and from Lion City sabo, HDB, ang moh and a new meaning for blur

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 May, 2016, 1:56pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 May, 2016, 2:49pm

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.

Add oil! The evolution of Hong Kong English, and where our unique words come from

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

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