Madame Curry

« previous post | next post »

Mark Swofford called my attention to this Taipei restaurant, noting the risqué pun in its name:  gālí niáng 咖哩娘 (lit., "curry mom").  The restaurant also has the Frenchified Western name "cari de madame".

It could conceivably be a pun for jiālǐ niàng 家裡釀 ("home brew"), but I suspect that Mark had something else in mind.  Well, the proprietors tell part of the story themselves here, "A naughty name for insane curry".

So, exactly what is the naughty pun hidden in the seemingly innocent restaurant name, gālí niáng 咖哩娘 (lit., "curry mom")?

The words in Mandarin for that naughty phrase are "gàn nǐ niáng 干你娘/幹你娘" ("f— your mother"). It's one of the most common f-phrases in Taiwan.  The gàn 幹 we encountered just a few days ago spray painted all over the side of a car parked in the wrong place was likely intended as a shortened form of "gàn nǐ niáng 干你娘/幹你娘" ("f— your mother").

There are various transcriptions of this phrase in Taiwanese:  kàn lín-niâ, kàn lín niâ, gàn lin-niă, gàn lǐnniá / ganr linvniaa.

Compare the first two syllables of the cursing phrase with the transcription of "curry" in Taiwanese:  ka1-li2 咖喱.  The pronunciation of 娘 ("mom; mother; madame") remains the same both in the cursing phrase and in the name of the restaurant

I should note that curry is as big in East Asia as it is in England.  The Japanese especially have made curry (karē カレー) into a ubiquitous national dish.   House Curry and Vermont Curry are among the most popular brands, and then there is Curry House, the Japanese Curry and Spaghetti Restaurants that you run into all over the place in LA.

It would seem that Cari De Madame in Taipei is tapping into this East Asian wave of love for curry, but in a decidedly more upscale manner than the quotidian house curries in Japan (except for their name).

[Thanks to Melvin Lee, Grace Wu, Sophie Wei, and Chia-hui Lu]


  1. tangent said,

    February 2, 2016 @ 1:13 am

    If you're wondering why /Vermont/ Curry, apparently it stems from D. C. Jarvis' "Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health" which popularized cider vinegar and honey.

  2. Patrick Mahony said,

    February 2, 2016 @ 4:56 am

    For your info "madame" is the french word for a married woman. And by the way… i love curry

RSS feed for comments on this post