Most locals speak English fairly well, but hey, learning a new language is one of the best things about travelling to any destination. Most of the population in Hong Kong speak Cantonese and English, whilst Mandarin is not as popular as you might hope. So while it’s not a huge disadvantage not to know your yat from your bat in Hong Kong (Read: you can still bag a bargain at the Lady’s Market in English) it could be fun to sneak in a phrase or two where you please. Ready for your crash course in Cantonese?
#1 Be Nice!
Hello – nei hou
Good morning – zhou san
Good evening / night — zhou tao
How are you? – lei hou mah
What’s your name? – nei giu me mengh
My name is… — ngor giu…
Thank you — mm goi
Goodbye – zhoi geen
#2 Getting Touristy
Where is (destination name)? – (Destination name) hai bin ah?
Excuse me, how do I get to (destination)? – cheng man, dim yong hui (destination)?
How long is the trip? – yiu gei loi sin tou ah?
Where do I get off? – bin doh lok cher
#3 Let’s Hit the Shops
How much is this? – cheng mun, yee kor kei daw chin?
Can I try this? – hor mm hor yee see har?
I want this one – ngo oi yee gor
I want that one – ngo oi kor chek
Cheaper, please – peng dit, mm goi
Do you have any…? — lei yow mo…?
#4 How to Order Food like a Pro
Menu, please – mm goi, chan pai
What’s the signature dish here? – lei do tchil phai choy hai mut ah?
I want what he is having – ngo oi tong hui ke yet yeung
Do you have beer here? — leedo yow mo bair tsow yum ah?
Yes we do — yow ah!
No we don’t — mo ah!
Still raw – mei sook
Tissue, please – zhi ghan, mm goi
Cheque, please? — mai dan, mm goi
Tasty — hou sek
#5 Good to Know
Yes – hai
No — mm hai
I know — zhi doh
I don’t know – mm zhi doh