Wanton soup

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In "Wantan soup for überman hubby" (3/15/14), we discussed the miswriting of húntún tāng 餛飩湯 ("wonton soup") as kūnzhūn tāng 䐊肫湯 (which I playfully rendered as "wantan soup"), using the "flesh" radical instead of the "food" radical for both characters. Several of the commenters to that earlier post suggested that "wanton" would have been an appropriate mistranslation to match the miswriting.

Now, Janet Williams, who just returned from a trip to Singapore, provides abundant photographic documentation of that rendering in real life:

Let's hope that eating these dishes doesn't make you engage in malicious or lascivious behavior.


  1. Rodger C said,

    January 6, 2015 @ 7:45 am

    I often see this in America.

  2. Dick Margulis said,

    January 6, 2015 @ 7:59 am

    Malicious, no. But what's the downside of lascivious? I say bring on the wanton soup! And dancing girls. Must have dancing girls. There's a whole new restaurant category just ripe for development.

  3. Keith said,

    January 6, 2015 @ 8:17 am

    In my experience, wanton is usually a synonym for "reckless", perhaps because it is so often used in the expression "with wanton disregard" (for the rules, for public safety, for the law, etc).

    Wanton soup brings to mind visions of hot liquids being splashed around.

  4. ahkow said,

    January 6, 2015 @ 10:39 am

    Professor Mair writes húntún 餛飩 for the dumplings, but the dumplings are referred to in Mandarin in Singapore/Malaysia as yúntūn 雲吞 (via Cantonese wan11 tan55).

    餛飩 húntún to the average local Mandarin speaker in Singapore/Malaysia probably conjures images of Northern Chinese-style dumplings.

  5. Anthony said,

    January 6, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

    Cry to it, nuncle, as the cockney did to the eels when she put 'em i' the paste alive; she
    knapped 'em o' the coxcombs with a stick, and cried, 'Down, wantons, down!'

  6. Rodger C said,

    January 7, 2015 @ 7:46 am


  7. Amos said,

    January 8, 2015 @ 4:03 am

    To Singaporean English speakers like myself, 'wanton' (n) and 'wanton' (adj) are definitely not homophonous. It is also definitely not a mistranslation like commentators suggest, since it's source isn't Mandarin.
    Just perhaps an unfortunate choice of transliteration of the word for people who recognize the adjective 'wanton'.

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