Why Don’t Chinese People Like Salty Pig Hands?

Word of the Week : xián zhū shoǔ

咸猪手

Anyone who has spent time in China will have probably noticed that some Chinese food is tripe. That’s not an insult; some Chinese food is literally tripe. Pig intestines and cow stomach are often on the menu. If you haven’t given them a try maybe you should, because along with chicken feet and pig trotters they make quite an interesting meal.

chicken feet are very popular in china

chicken feet are very popular in china

Some people are put off eating such delicacies, but they often taste fine after a huge amount of MSG has been added (an essential ingredient in a lot of Chinese cuisine) which gives everything a distinctive savoury taste.

The Chinese language, however, doesn’t have a word for “savoury”, so the word “salty” (xián 咸) will often be used instead. It’s not uncommon to hear Chinese people say “nǐ xǐ huan chī xián de háishi tián de?” (do you like to eat salty or sweet food?) as though salty and sweet are the only two options. In more western parts of China it’s not uncommon to hear là (spicy) also thrown into the equation.

spicy duck intestines

spicy duck intestines

So with the Chinese love of miscellaneous animal parts and salty food you would think “salty pig hands” (xián zhū shoǔ 咸猪手) might be quite popular. You would be wrong. xián zhū shoǔ is actually a euphemistic slang term for “pervert”.

xián zhū shoǔ is most commonly used to refer to men who feel women up in public, and thankfully China doesn’t have too many xián zhū shoǔ. However, any girl finding a guy getting a little too close and touchy-feely in a bar could say “wǒ bù xǐ huan nǐ de xián zhū shoǔ” (I don’t like your salty pig hands)

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