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TikTok’s ‘Chinese Takeaway’ Confusion: The Weird Miscommunication of British Takeaway

Americans are only just finding out what British people call their Chinese takeaway and are confused by the abbreviation.  

Credit: @CorysWorldd/TikTok @Soogia1/TikTok

TikTok’s most recent trend to overwhelm the FYP is British takeaways. With hundreds of people using the app to share their own versions of ‘a Chinese.’ 

The hashtag “Chinese Takeaway” is flooded with videos of Styrofoam containers and foil boxes, but the abundance of show and tell has been greeted with confusion and slightly offended crowds of Americans. Raising questions about British takeaway standards. 

One TikTok star, ‘Soogia1’, stated, “This is no hate to them – none to them whatsoever,” despite the growing criticism and jokes against the British takeaway.  

“It’s like that prompt that says, tell me something that isn’t racist but feels like it is’, it feels like that.”  

When in reality it has nothing to do with race. The term is an abbreviation used by British people, when refering to the popular saturday night takeaway.

The TikTok creator is quick to mention that in the US, it is referred to as ‘Chinese food’, the same for many other countries cuisine, simply adding food to the end of the sentence. But it raises a good question. If British people say they’re going for ‘a Chinese’, do they also say they’re going for ‘an Indian’ or ‘a Greek’.  

The quick answer to that is yes, they do. They abbreviate everything. 

The simplicity of stating that you’re going to go and get a Chinese is just slang for a Chinese takeaway. And the Uk applies it to every type of cuisine that exists around the world. 

But is meant with no malicious intent. 

‘Soogia1’ also mentioned, “their plates are almost exactly the same,” and “filled with things I don’t recognize as Chinese food”  

Chicken balls, chips, and curry sauce are widely known as part of a British Chinese takeaway from a Saturday night and are sold in most Chinese Takeaways around the country, even at Chinese Buffets, which are often run by people with Chinese heritage.  

Most even sell fish and chips as well.  

The answers are simple enough. Not only were people offering reasoning behind the abbreviation, but she also received other examples of British phrasing. 

“I don’t think we really say like let’s get Thai food. Food is kind of implied” 

Other comments weren’t as helpful. 

With some saying, “good god,” and in all capitals, “the reach.”  

“Imagine being cancelled for using the indefinite article ‘a’.” 

Other creators jumped to defend her, stitching the video with answers and explaining the odd combinations of food that, no, aren’t traditionally Chinese, but sold by your local Chinese takeaway anyway. 

‘Corysworldd’ is one of the multiple creators referenced in the original video. He made it clear that he has taken no offense to the video, telling his audience “I never thought I’d have to speak on behalf of Britain,” before shedding light on his mountain of Chinese food. He even offered to show his audience what different countries cuisine looks like in British form. 

Another TikTok creator who goes by the name ‘Nisipisa’ referred to the 2009 Lily Allen song, ‘Chinese’. Asking, “Were you guys not where I was in 2009.” 

Safe to say, this drama has flooded the FYP, but why? There isn’t anything to it. There will always be disagreements as to the right wording, but when you’re halfway across the world from each other, does it matter? God knows that a British Chinese takeaway isn’t authentic, I don’t think anyone ever claimed it to be. Give it a week or so, and there will be something different swarming our TikTok feeds.

There is always something new to discover.

But, a Chinese takeaway? It is merely a tasty treat to break the newest trendy diet that our feeds have tricked us into.

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Hi, I am a Student at the University of Chester, studying an undergraduate degree in creative writing and journalism. Writing is something I love and getting to express it here is amazing.

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