CANTO SLANG: EPISODE 15
Here’s an ancient one that you’ll hear from your parents or grandparents’ mouths and less from the younger generation.
SELL SALTED DUCK EGGS
WTF is that? This one is a bit out of context, and it’s pretty hard to guess the slang meaning just from seeing those 4 words.
SELL SALTED DUCK EGGS’ ORIGINS:
This one was hard to research for, mainly because I couldn’t find the English to 牙灰 (literal translation is teeth grey). I’ll explain why this is important.
The euphemism, sell salted duck eggs, originates from how salted duck eggs were made in the early HK days. The production of salted duck eggs then, involved packing each egg with a “teeth grey” paste. Similarly, this “teeth grey” substance is placed at the bottom of the coffin before the deceased person is placed inside. That is how the connection between salted duck eggs and deceased person(s) was formed.
Now, based on my research, my best guess is that this “teeth grey” substance/paste, is a variant or something very similar to charcoal, and was used prevalently in HK during the early days, from coffins, to making salted duck egg, to teeth whitening.
Share this if you liked it! Also have you checked out the previous Canto Slang Lesson #14, “Wife Slave”?