‘Char siu’, ‘milk tea’, and ‘wet market’ added to the Oxford English Dictionary

What do char siu, shroff, compensated dating, kaifong, and sitting-out area all have in common? Not a whole lot in terms of meaning, but all of these terms were recently added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Yesterday, the OED issued a statement listing the Hong Kong-specific words and phrases which had made the cut for its March 2016 update. Some of the words are Cantonese loanwords, like “yum cha”, while others are “formations in English that are only or chiefly used in Hong Kong”, like “compensated dating”. 

Behold all of the new Hong Kong English words added to the OED this year (some definitions provided by Coconuts Hong Kong):

Char siu
Roast pork marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce, typically served in thin strips

Compensated dating
A relationship in which a wealthier, often older benefactor exchanges money and gifts for companionship

Dai pai dong
An open-air food stall providing cheap, everyday food

A neighbourhood association

A social or personal network of contacts used for professional or other advantage

Lucky money
Lai see, or red packets, typically given out to unmarried people during Chinese New Year 

Sandwich class
Lower-middle class; people who don’t earn enough to be “upper class”, but make enough to be ineligible for social assistance

Milk tea
A drink originating in Hong Kong, made with black tea and evaporated or condensed milk

A cashier, especially at a car park

Sitting-out area
A small public space with seating in a built-up urban area

Siu mei
Cantonese-style roast meats, cooked on spits over an open fire or in a wood burning rotisserie oven

Yum cha
A meal, usually of dim sum and tea, eaten in the morning or early afternoon

Wet market
A market selling fresh meat and produce, traditionally in an open-air setting


Got a tip? Send it to us at hongkong@coconuts.co


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