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Lesson Transcript

大家好(daai6 gaa1 hou2)! Hello and welcome to Cantonese Survival phrases brought to you by cantoneseclass101.com, my name is Nicole and I will be your language teacher and culture guide throughout this course. This course is designed to equip you with the language skills and knowledge to enable you to get the most out of your visit to Hong Kong or anywhere else in the Cantonese world. You will be surprised at how far a little Cantonese will go. Now before we jump in, remember to stop by cantoneseclass101.com and there you will find the accompanying PDF and additional info in this post. If you stop by, be sure to leave us a comment.
Cantonese survival phrases, #15. Restaurant V, Check Please. In the previous lesson, we saw how to order at a restaurant, how to get the waiters attention and then how to order your meal and beverages. Once you have ordered beverages and you finally have all the 菜(coi3) which means dishes you have ordered, you can start to enjoy the mouthwatering meal. If you are pleased with your meal and are ready to leave, you should say 唔該埋單(m4 goi1 maai4 daan1) check please. Let’s hear it again 唔該埋單(m4 goi1 maai4 daan1) check please. If you break it down, first we have 唔該(m4 goi1) that’s please or excuse me. We follow this by saying what we want, the bill of course. We follow this by saying what we want, the bill of course. 埋單 (maai4 daan1), 埋單 (maai4 daan1). Now this is literally translated as to close the list. Now the單(daan1), 埋單 (maai4 daan1). Now this is literally translated as to bury the bill or to bury the list. 埋(maai4) is to cover or to bury. 單(daan1) is the same 單(daan1) we hear in 菜單(coi3 daan1) menu. 菜單(coi3 daan1) menu and here we are using it in the phrase 埋單 (maai4 daan1) which means the check. 埋單 (maai4 daan1) which means to pay the bill or the bill.
Now let’s hear the whole sentence again 唔該埋單(m4 goi1 maai4 daan1), 唔該埋單(m4 goi1 maai4 daan1). Now this is very simple but what if you want to call the waiter or the waitress, what would you say? If it’s a waitress, you say 小姐 (siu2 ze2) which means Ms 小姐 (siu2 ze2), 小姐 (siu2 ze2). It’s literally young lady 小姐 (siu2 ze2) and if it’s a waiter, you call him 先生 (sin1 saang1) Mr. 先生(sin1 saang1) Mr. And those are formal ways of calling them. 小姐 (siu2 ze2) Ms. 小姐 (siu2 ze2) Ms. 先生(sin1 saang1) Mr. What if in some – what if it’s in the bar or in a casual restaurant, you want to call them 靚女(leng3 neoi2) pretty girl, 靚女(leng3 neoi2) pretty girl or 靚仔(leng3 zai2) handsome guy, 靚仔 (leng3 zai2) handsome guy. Remember those, you get your bill faster or even the phone number. So the whole sentence sounds like this 唔該, 靚女埋單(m4 goi1, leng3 neoi2 maai4 daan1) or 靚女, 唔該埋單(leng3 neoi2, m4 goi1 maai4 daan1) Ms, can I have my bill please, Ms, check please or 靚仔, 埋單(leng3 zai2, maai4 daan1) if he’s the waiter.
Now when Hong Kong people go out for dinner, they always pay cash. Occasionally they would use credit cards but nearly never checks. They’ve always got money enough to pay the bill for their company too. Not being able to pay will be humiliating beyond belief. And also even if it says everywhere that tips are included in the price, in Hong Kong tipping is quite important sometimes especially in traditional Chinese restaurants like the 飲茶(jam2 caa4) or drinking tea venues. I know tip can seem preposterous on top of the service charge, however it is courtesy and good manner to tip in restaurants, bars and even some cafes. About 10% would be appropriate.
Okay before we go, we’d like you to practice what you’ve learned in this lesson. I will provide you with the English equivalent of the phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud. You know what to do. You have a few seconds before I give you the answers. So 加 油(gaa1 jau2)! Now the key phrase of today’s lesson is, check please 唔該埋單(m4 goi1 maai4 daan1). And we learned different ways of calling Ms and Mr. Ms 小姐(siu2 ze2), Mr. 先生(sin1 saang1), pretty girl 靚女(leng3 neoi2), handsome guy 靚仔(leng3 zai2). All right, that’s all for today’s lesson. I hope you all enjoyed it. Thanks for listening and remember to stop by cantoneseclass101.com and pick up the PDF. And if you stop by, please leave us a comment. Bye bye.

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CantoneseClass101.com
Monday at 6:30 pm
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Don't be afraid to yell across the room to the closest waiter when wanting to grab the bill. Trust us when we say you will blend in.

Cantoneseclass101.comVerified
Friday at 8:00 am
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Hi Steven,


唔該埋單 is the better way to say.


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Cantoneseclass101.comVerified
Saturday at 1:46 am
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Hello Steven cung,


討厭(tou2 jim3) means "hate" or "dislike". It`s kind of strong word.


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Cantoneseclass101.comVerified
Saturday at 12:49 pm
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Hello Dries,


埋單(maai4 daan1) means "pay the bill" . 埋(maai4) literally means "bury". 單(daan1) means "bill". This term is used in Cantonese, not Mandarin.


I have heard that Mandarin speaker uses 買單. It could be the Mandarin 買 sounds like the Cantonese 埋. But Cantonese speaker don`t use 買單 in this case. 買(maai5) literally means "to buy".


Siuling

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Dries
Sunday at 8:37 pm
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Is it also possible to say "買單"? And if so, it's probably the same in meaning, I guess?


Thanks!


Dries

CantoneseClass101
Monday at 1:10 pm
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Hi Chris,


Good question! No we don't usually call the waiter or waitress "handsome boy" or "pretty girl" when we're of the same gender. It's more common for the regulars, but in the market venders say it to potential customers too :wink:


Olivia

Team CantoneseClass101.com

Chris
Sunday at 7:49 am
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Would it be usual for a man to refer to a male waiter as "handsome boy?" Or a woman to call a waitress "pretty girl?" Do strangers use these phrases or only the regulars?