MeiHua/page21

From Eccentric Flower

 

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Here, what you see is what you get. Which is a good thing, because the simple versions of the characters (on the sign) are very small and the more calligraphic versions (on the wall) are very illegible.

meiwah21


The first two characters (in Cantonese) are "hou" (GOOD, "fine," "very," "fond of") and "choi" ("colorful," literally "beautiful colors"). The other two mean NOODLE and FACTORY.

hao3

GOOD

mian4

NOODLE
Notice that in this font, the "foot" of the radical doesn't extend underneath the other part. But this is a rarity. Usually it works the way you see it in the photo.

chang3

FACTORY

NOODLE you will see again in menu-land. FACTORY and GOOD are just useful to know in general.

I used Cantonese above because the Ho Toy pronunciation makes it clear which dialect the owners of the business use. In putonghua (Mandarin), they're "hao" and "cai."

- - -

YET ANOTHER UNSOUND DIGRESSION

cai4

A good rule of thumb is that when you hear "choi" (Cantonese) or "cai" (putonghua) in a food context, someone's talking about our friend VEGETABLE. (Example to come later: "bok choy," "white vegetable.") This can also be rendered as Choy or Toy or even Tsai ("cai" is pronounced as if it starts with an S).

But as this page illustrates, for every sound in Chinese there are many different characters. Here's a 'cai' or 'choy' which has nothing to do with food. Tone and context are your only clues to meaning in spoken Chinese ... which is, again, why I try to stick to just showing you the pretty pictures. (There have been plenty of times when I was unable to look up something because all I knew were the sounds, which were ambiguous.)

I haven't seen the characters for his name, so I can't be sure - see paragraph above - but I do sometimes wonder if Ming Tsai is a deliberate pseudonym ... since the two most likely readings are Bright Food or Famous Food.


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