Somebody I met once in the UK had a tattoo of ‘chicken curry and chips’ tattooed on his inner lower arm in Chinese characters. His reasoning was that he could show the tattoo in the Chinese takeaway after a night on the town and he would always get his favourite order. He’d place his arm out on the counter to avoid any misunderstanding. Granted, chicken curry and chips isn’t a very Chinese order, but who are we to cast judgement.
It got us thinking, what are some other food-related embarrassing Chinese tattoos?
It’s a favourite pastime of Chinese speakers in other countries when they see people with Chinese tattoos to see whether the person got the meaning right. There are even some stories of tattoo artists writing the wrong characters in translation because somebody has been rude. Let that be a lesson!
Some Food-related Chinese Tattoo Mistakes
1) 牛肉汤 – niúròu tang – beef noodle soup
Everybody loves beef noodle soup, so we can’t fault the effort on this one!
2) 菜 – cài – vegetable
3) Somebody wanted a tattoo of ‘I am a vegetarian’ but received ‘I am a vegetable’
Not a million miles away…
4) ‘Little Potato’ instead of respect
At least this one isn’t rude, we actually quite like the nickname ‘Little Potato’!
5) This tattoo was meant to say ‘chi’ (as in the energy that runs through all living things) but is actually the character for rice…
Have you seen any embarrassing Chinese tattoos on your travels? Perhaps you pointed them out to the owner? This is certainly another situation where being a student of the language is a benefit and you should be able to avoid any mishaps yourself!
Have you heard about China’s ban on after school tuition?