How Do You Spell 'Dapao'?
Updated: Apr 19, 2019
Most of us have heard of the word, dapao. It’s a phrase that we hear almost every day to talk about the food we want to take away. (bungkus/打包)
There is one problem. It seems that we can’t just agree on how to spell it!
As you can tell, we prefer dapao. But there is dabao, dapao, tapau, tapow, tar pau…. and much more.
What is dapao?
The word originates from Chinese, 打包. In the mandarin Hanyu Pinyin (汉语 拼音), its dǎbāo.
If we literally translate 打包 into English, it would mean beat bag. That does not sound right to us. 😂
However, 打 can mean a lot of things, it can mean to beat, to strike, to hit, to break, to type, to build, to fight, to fetch, to make, to tie up and more. Isn’t language a beautiful mess?
There is also the HongKong slangs for 打包. Their slang is more hardcore and bloody. 打包 can mean to kill and finish off or wrap a dead body. Brutal!
Most people know what it actually means is to pack something, that is what dapao-ing is all about. Packing foods or drinks to take away and be consumed.
No One Right Way To Spell It
Based on Hanyu Pinyin, Dabao would be the most accurate way of spelling it. It’s the most logical and sensible answer.
However, Dapao, Tapao, Dapau, Tapau, Tar Pow, Dabau, Tapow or whatever spelling variations are not wrong either! Or say it in another language, takeaway or bungkus.
Language is fluid, say what you want. If I get what you meant, then spelling does not matter at all.
As long the meaning gets across to who you are speaking to. There is no need for the right spelling for dapao. Select one that is right for you!
We just need to understand each other and enjoy the food that we dapao!
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