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Cantonese Slang of the Week: Young fresh meat

By Jenny Leung 22 February 2019 | Last Updated 18 December 2020

Made-up vocabulary known only to locals, words that consist of a mix of both English and Chinese, and double-entendres that make absolutely no sense—these are just a few of the things that make Cantonese one of the hardest languages to learn. So, we thought it was about time we gave you folks a quick lesson on some funny terminology, common phrases, and the latest Internet slang. We guarantee it will score you a few extra points with the locals!

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Young fresh meat: 小鮮肉 (siu2 sin1 juk6)

Are you a male, aged between 18 to 25, with chiselled features, perfect skin, and a killer smile? If so, then congratulations—you’re a “siu sin yuk.” Originally used by the K-pop fandom to describe male Korean idols they so blindly worship, “siu sin yuk” literally translates to “young fresh meat.” We know what you’re thinking—calling someone a piece of meat can come off as offensive, to say the least, but in Hong Kong, it’s quite the compliment for a guy to be called this. Remember though, this word can only be used to describe men, so if you try to call a young woman a “siu sin yuk,” you’ll most likely just end up feeling embarrassed, as this carries no meaning whatsoever.

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Jenny Leung

Former senior editor

Born in Hong Kong and raised in the UK, Jenny grew up with the best of both worlds. She loves just about anything to do with music and doesn’t shy away from belting out a tune or two when it comes to karaoke. If she’s not out and about exploring the city and practising her photography skills, she’s probably tucked up in bed with a book or glued to her laptop doing her online shopping.

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