Wikivoyage's guide to Guangzhou, amongst others, says

A well-known Chinese joke is that they eat anything that has four legs other than a table, anything that flies other than an airplane, and anything that swims other than a submarine.

However, I've also heard it attributed to Prince Philip.

Does Chinese have a saying about Cantonese people eating almost anything?

  • 1
    Yes, if you go to big restaurant in Guangdong, you'll oftentimes find a menagerie at the front, it's almost like you're going to a zoo. They have all types of animals from mundane ones like chickens and geese you monkeys and crocodiles. If you're (un)lucky you could see them getting killed in front of you. We Cantonese are quite the cynical bunch.
    – Gary Quan
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 23:48

5 Answers 5


The saying I heard was: 「有四隻腳嘅除咗檯,有對翼嘅除咗飛機,廣東人都會食。」

It is quite wordy and very likely a direct translation from English.

There's however, an elegant saying about Chinese wide range of food choice. It is 「背脊向天人所食」(if something's back is facing the sky, it is for people to eat) That includes almost every living creature.


Yes. In China, such joke has many versions, and most young have hear about one or more version of them.


Cantonese people eat much more kinds of things that other Chinese don't eat, even other Chinese can't image for eating. something dangerous, ugly to eat, such as snake, insect ... It is an exaggeration.


Cantonese also eat Fujianese. Although it's a Chinese joke. But any creature should be scare when it's arrive Guangdong. Yes, they eat almost everything.

  • If you can add the Chinese "广东人吃福建人" that would greatly improve your answer.
    – Mou某
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 9:20
  • Apparently this dates from the Chinese Internet of 2017.
    – Michaelyus
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 15:53

There is also the following aphorism:


Běijīng rén shénme dōu gǎn shuō, Guǎngdōng rén shénme dōu gǎn chī, Shànghǎi rén shénme dōu gǎn chuān.

Beijing people dare to say anything, Guangdong people dare to eat anything, Shanghai people dare to wear anything.

I have found a reference to it on a BBS Forum post from 2007, but I'm pretty sure it can be dated to way before that.

There are further additions to the pattern, and the order is often transposed.


The origin of the statement is unknown, which I think is probably a mix of popular culture self-mocking and westerner discrimination.

Although Chinese does has many bizarre food and quite liberal on food (unlike protestant) , some simply think they can are open to all sort of food.

IMHO, I don't think Cantonese are brave enough to consume Iceland Hákarl. On the other hand, Iceland people will look at century egg in horror.

  • Actually these two foods might have more in common than expected (YouTube link).
    – Michaelyus
    Commented Mar 13, 2019 at 15:56

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