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Packaging for a box of sweets that a friend brought to me from China a few days ago:

Expanded laterally:

The package says that these sweets are mochi, but true mochi is made of short-grain japonica glutinous rice.  The manufacturer calls them mochi to emphasize the chewy, gooey quality of the treats, which actually do not consist of mochi, but are made of taro (yù 芋), as stated on the bottom right corner of the package, though it also has other ingredients mixed in.

The snack has the approximation of an egg yolk in its center, but it's not really dànhuáng 蛋黃 as claimed on the package.

Even though this sweet is not what the makers superficially claim, it does taste good in its own way.

What I really want to talk about are the big characters at the bottom of the package:

chāonéng chě dànhuáng sū
("super stretchy egg yolk crisp") — the sweet has a thin, crispy outer layer

It is quite clever of the designer to pull apart the semantophore and the phonophore of the third character, chě 扯 ("pull"), thus 扌止, to emphasize the stretchiness of the sweet.

Selected readings

[Thanks to Zihan Guo]


  1. Dagon said,

    October 13, 2022 @ 11:00 am

    Heh. In addition to (and for some audiences, likely overshadowing) the cleverness of the characters, there's a clear use of the goatse meme from ~2 decades ago. do _NOT_ search for this randomly, but the Wikipedia page ( is pretty safe.

  2. AntC said,

    October 13, 2022 @ 2:49 pm

    What's happening with the top-right


    The designer didn't anticipate a six-letter English word?

  3. JOHN S ROHSENOW said,

    October 13, 2022 @ 4:15 pm

    Antsy- Yolk Pastr-y : Thanks for clearing that up; I had misread it as VOLK, which was very confusing :-)

  4. Eric Armstrong said,

    October 14, 2022 @ 5:01 am

    What are the characters at the bottom that are revealed when it is opened up? Do they say something or is it just decoration?

  5. Jonathan Smith said,

    October 14, 2022 @ 3:04 pm

    ^ 软糯超能扯 ruan3nuo4 chao1 neng2 che3 I think, 'chewy and super-strrreeetchy'

    超能扯 chao1 neng2 che3 lit. super able-to tug/stretch/pull is (arguably) funny in the name of this product b/c che3 'tug' also means 'gab/prattle on', so sounds like 'sure can talk one's ear off'

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