Funny Typo For Ginseng Chicken Soup Changes Meaning Of Name

With Chinese New Year over, perhaps it’s time to nourish the soul with healthier food choices. One perfect option could be a soothing, warm bowl of ginseng chicken soup.

For one GrabFood user who was scouring the app for this dish, they chanced upon what seemed like a pretty hysterical typo on Wok Master’s menu.

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The Chinese character used on the menu for the dish has given it an entirely different meaning to ginseng chicken soup.

One alphabet is all it takes to change the meaning of a dish

A netizen shared a screenshot of this amusing typo in a Reddit post on Wednesday (17 Feb).


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For the uninitiated, ginseng is written as ‘人参’ (Rén shēn) in Chinese character.

However, ‘人生’ (Rén shēng) takes on a whole new meaning.

In its most literal sense, the item on the menu can loosely be translated to “human birthed chicken soup”.

Possible definition of Chinese soup name

While no doubt an error on the menu, there is in fact a legitimate meaning behind the phrase “人生鸡汤“.

Some Chinese netizens use this term in a tongue-in-cheek way to describe overtly cliché sayings or cheesy philosophical expressions.

It could also be an alternate name for ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’.

Netizens highly amused

Netizens had a field day in the comment section — with puns and anecdotes to share.

This one gave a literal translation of the menu typo, which meant “person give birth to chicken soup”.

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This user who used to work in the F&B industry had much to comment on the command of Chinese of students here.


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Instead of the infamous quote “which came first: the egg or chicken?”, this user made a mighty clever play on words on this aged old question.

Did the chicken or the person come first in this case?

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As morbid as it is, one netizen made a good point about how the typo could have been made worse by accidentally using another character of a similar intonation, turning ‘ginseng’ into ‘human body parts’.

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Remember to thoroughly vet translations

Translating things for official use isn’t an easy feat, especially with food items.

Perhaps grab a friend who speaks in that native language for a quick vet through.

Fortunately for this incident, the typo is in a digital menu and could be rectified with a quick fix. Things wouldn’t be the same if it was a physical menu though.

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Featured image adapted from Reddit and Thermos.