A Tea House that Makes Dim Sum with Heart

Zolima City Mag Dim Sum Image 1_13 MAR 2020

Zolima City Mag recently posted a new short video on YouTube.

Called “A Tea House that Makes Dim Sum with Heart”, the clip deals with a small dim sum restaurant called 叁去壹 (“Three Minus One”) in 西營盤 Sai Ying Pun. It’s a finely crafted piece, and is almost as satisfying as a serve of prawn haa gaau dumplings! The camera and editing by Kevin Cheung is superb, and the interviewer Zabrina Lo does a great job in bringing out the rather quietly spoken chef, 王燦枝 Wong Charn-chee. There’s also a very moody soundtrack that complements the urban imagery brilliantly ⸺ the musicians responsible also deserve recognition for their efforts!

There are subtitles in English and Standard Written Chinese, and there are some valuable language points in the Cantonese, including the use of the verb 頂 déng2; an instance of 拍檔 paak3 dong3; and a couple of uses of the colloquial numbers, 卅呀一年 and 卌呀一年.

You can view the video here.

The complete Cantonese transcript is as follows:


● Both 叁 and 壹 are more formal characters representing the much more familiar 三 and 一 respectively.


● 頂 déng2 = to substitute; to replace; to take the place of


● 臨時 làhm4 sìh4 = at the time when sth. happens (compare 到時 dou3 sìh4); (?) at the last minute
● 拍檔 paak3 dong3 = a partner (in a business venture)


● The use of 咪 maih6 here is very colloquial and one that I haven’t seen explained in any textbook on Cantonese. Sheik Cantonese has “(often used with 囉) then; as a result; might just as well”. Here, it goes seem to mean more or less the same as 就 jauh6, “then”.

我 14 歲入行㗎啦,做點心

Zolima City Mag Dim Sum Image 3 CROPPED_15 MAR 2020

呀我 . . . 叫王燦枝

● The character 燦 chaan3, containing the fire radical on the left, has the meanings of ① brilliant; bright; dazzling ② (derogatory) bumpkin.


● Here the Cantonese uses “dislocated” syntax. The usual order would be 啲人個個叫我大師兄 = people all call me Great Master Brother


● 熟客 suhk6 haak3 = regular customer; a regular
● 街坊 gāai1 fōng1 = neighbourhood; (?) and by extension “people from the local neighbourhood”


● Another case of dislocated syntax occurs with 我哋唔識㗎,呢啲. The more usual order would be 呢啲我哋唔識㗎 = we don’t understand such things (i.e. the use of computers)


● 卅呀 sāa1 aah6 = thirty, the colloquial form of 三十, but only used for 31-39.


● 卌呀 sei3 aah6, the colloquial form of 四十, but only used for 41-49.

You can also check anything in the transcript in the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary here.



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