I [heart] you in Sino-English

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Taken by Yuanfei Wang at a restaurant in Hangzhou:

The printing on the package says:

Xībèi yóumiàn cūn
"Xibei naked oats (Avena nuda) pasta village"

This is terribly clever, in that the "you" of "I heart you" means both "naked oats" (in Chinese) and "you" (in English").  In addition, the "yóu" is a phonetic gloss for this not-well-known character 莜.  As one of my students from China says:  "…many people in China (including me) do not know how to pronounce this character before coming across these restaurants" with their pictured logo.


[Thanks to Chenfeng Wang and Tong Wang]


  1. Bathrobe said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 12:29 am

    There is more. This is a large chain, and if I remember rightly the name is based on 贾 jiǎ, the surname of the owner. This is decomposed into 西 'west' and 贝 bèi 'shell'. The restaurant serves 西北 xīběi food, i.e, food from the northwest.

  2. Victor Mair said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 7:41 am


    I was going to put that exact information into the original post, but neglected to do so. Thanks for adding it as a comment.

  3. Victor Mair said,

    August 28, 2019 @ 10:46 am

    From Tong Wang:

    Maybe Mr. Jia, the owner is inspired by Dream of the Red Chamber 红楼梦,in which there is an anonymous poem to ridicule 贾芹. The first two lines are 西贝草斤年纪轻,水月庵里管尼僧.

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