Listen to Podcast | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Have You Eaten?”

New Words
Have you eaten your fill yet? – 食饱未 – jiak pah beh
Have you eaten? – 食未 – jiak beh
Have you eaten? Are you done with your meal? – 食好未 – jiak ho beh

Podcast Transcript | Hokkien: How Do You Say “Have You Eaten?”

hokkien how do you say have you eaten

Hello everyone, welcome to “How Do You Say” on My name is Eugene and in less than 5 minutes, you will learn how to greet people in Hokkien in 3 different ways!  

Let’s start!  

Listen to these phrases:  食饱未(吃饱没), 食未(吃没) and 食好未(吃好没) 

Do they sound similar to you? 

食饱未 means “have you eaten your fill yet”

食未 means “have you eaten yet”

The third phrase is 食好未 has a dual meaning. It means “have you eaten yet”, which is similar to 食未, or you can use it to ask if someone is done with their meal.   

For example, at a hawker centre, if you are eyeing the seat of someone who looks as though he has finished eating, you can head up to him, and ask, “食好未?”  

You may now be wondering why greetings among Hokkien or Chinese people revolve around food. One story is that in the olden days, there is a lack of food and people did not always have enough to eat. As such, asking about whether somebody has had a meal yet is a good way to show that you care about their well-being.  

Now, here’s a growing culture or taboo. In current days, the 2nd and 3rd phrase, namely 食未 and 食好未, are preferred over the first phrase 食饱未. This is because the first phrase 食饱未, seems to imply that the subject of your greeting is not affluent enough to eat his or her fill. 

Alright, let’s do a recap now. The 3 phrases are:  

食饱未(吃饱没), 食未(吃没) and 食好未(吃好没) 

Hope all our listeners learnt something today. In our next post, you will learn 2 more common greeting phrases to greet your family, friends and co-workers! 

Thank you for listening in to “How Do You Say” on!

Our Philosophy for Learning Hokkien in Singapore

The pronunciation of Hokkien words varies from one region to another. For example, Penang Hokkien sounds different from Taiwanese Hokkien. At, we want to make learning Hokkien fun, easy and practical for daily conversations in Singapore. As such, we think it is important to listen to how Singaporeans speak Hokkien. To do that, we have an ongoing process of collecting audio recordings from at least 100 Hokkien-speaking seniors in Singapore and thereafter based our audio pronunciation on the most commonly-heard version.

In similar nature, rather than trying to figure out which Hokkien romanization system to use (e.g. Pe̍h-ōe-jī or Taiwan Romanization System), we encourage you to form your own phonics, so that you make an association with these Hokkien words in the quickest way possible. To illustrate, the formal romanization of the English word, “eat”, is “chia̍h” in Hokkien. However, in our podcast transcript, you’ll find that we use “jiak”, which we think relates to us better. That said, you may use other romanization (e.g “chiah”, “jia”, etc), as long as it helps you to make sense of what you hear.