Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Healthy Eating: An English and a Chinese proverb

In English, there is a wise old saying that goes like this:
"Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a pauper."
It's a healthy eating tip that I try to live by and it's a well known fact that breakfast is the MOST important meal of the day.

I was having a traditional Chinese porridge breakfast i.e. plain white porridge with sweet potato, stir-fried French beans (okay, not so Chinese then), stir-fried tofu and half a salted egg but I didn't finish my breakfast.

An elderly Chinese man who was seated nearby happened to glance at my unfinished breakfast and rattled off this proverb in Mandarin:
"zǎo chī hǎo (早 吃 好),
wǔ chī bǎo (午 吃 饱),
wǎn chī shāo (晩 吃 稍)"

Since he'd said that so quickly, I asked him to repeat it slowly. In a rough translation, here's the Chinese proverb in English:
"Eat your best in the morning, eat well in the afternoon and eat less in the evening."
I love finding equivalents in different languages but never thought I'd find this in such different cultures.

Interestingly, the English proverb has 14 words while the Chinese proverb has only 9 words and is so rhythmic. How cool is that?

No comments:

Post a Comment