So you think you know Hong Kong idioms? Here’s how you did.
1. 三唔識七: “Three does not know seven / sahm ng sik chat“
To describe someone you’re completely unfamiliar with
2. 煲電話粥: “Boil telephone congee / bo deen wa jook”
To talk on the phone for a very, very long time.
3. 放飛機: “Fly aeroplane / fohng fay gay”
To cancel a date or an appointment the very last minute.
4. 大蛇屙尿: “A giant snake takes a piss / dai sei or niu”
If someone hasn’t seen “a giant snake take a piss,” it means they are inexperienced and have not enough exposure in that regard.
5. 鬼拍後尾枕: “A ghost hits the back of one’s head / gwei pak hou mei jum“
To accidentally spill a secret, because a ghost made you do it, of course.
6. 上面蒸鬆糕下面賣涼粉: “Steaming sponge cake above, selling grass jelly below / seung meen jing sohng go, ha meen mai leung fun“
To wear many layers on top, but very little on the lower half of your body. Often said as a misogynistic phrase to criticize the way women dress.
7. 運桔: “Transport tangerine / wun gut”
To browse in a shop and ask a shopkeeper many questions but leave without buying anything; to waste someone’s time.
8. 炒魷魚: “Stir-fry octopus / chao yau yu“
If you were “stir-fried octopus,” it means you had been fired.