Chinese Culture 吃豆腐Eating Tofu = Take advantage of woman WHY?

吃豆腐chī dòu fǔ

Literal Definition: To take advantage of woman physically or verbally through actions bearing sexual conotations. Eg: through inappropriate flirting.

The common saying of "Eating Tofu" is related to the story of "Tofu Xishi".

词语溯源How it came to be:


"Xishi" was the name of a beautiful woman from the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC), who was presented by Fu Chai (the King of Wu) to Gou Jian ( the King of Yue). "Xishi" then became a popular term for referring to beautiful woman, which is how it continues to be used today.


"Tofu Xishi" refers to Yang Ersao, a character from the novel "Guxiang", written by Lu Xun.


Yang is the owner of a tofu shop; she is young, beautiful and has flawless skin because she eats tofu all the time. She entices and flirts with men in order to sell more tofu. These men always go to her tofu shop under the guise that they are just going there to "eat tofu" in order to flirt with her. Over time, the idiom "eating tofu" came into use to refer to a man taking advantage of a woman.


如何使用How to use it in a sentence:

Be careful, this idiom has a softer meaning in contemporary China and is generally only used in casual contexts, making it unsuitable for use in formal conversation. It is commonly used by men in a humourous manner during potentially embarassing situations. For example, if a man accidentally brushes the chest of an attractive woman whilst on a bus, he may then use the phrase to apologize her as such: Sorry, I did not mean to eat your tofu.

bú hǎo yì sī ,wǒ bú shì gù yì yào chī nǐ dòu fǔ
Sorry, I did not mean to eat your tofu.

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