The infamous 'yin-yang' coffee

鴛鴦 is a mix of tea and coffee commonly had in Hong Kong (amongst other south-asian countries).

I was wondering about how this drink came into being? Where does the title come from (especially the common radical at the bottom part of the character). What's the reasoning of the name behind the title?

I could simply search this up on Wikipedia but I wanted to hear your opinions. I don't really trust Wikipedia as a reliable source of information.

2 Answers 2


鴛鴦 is actually the name of a bird; more specifically, the mandarin duck.

Here's an image:

(Look at how cute they are!)

In Chinese culture, the mandarin duck is a symbol of lovers, much like the lovebird in English culture. The term 鸳鸯 is often used to describe pairs of things that make a good match. As for your drink, this most likely refers to the tea and coffee, which, despite tasting very different (much like the colour difference between the male and female duck), are actually perfect for each other.

The common radical, 鳥, means "bird". "鴛" refers to the male duck, and "鴦" refers to the female.

  • For '鳳凰' (Phoenix), '鳳' is male '鳳凰' and '凰' is female '鳳凰'. '鳳' and '凰' are both '鳳凰'; For '鴛鴦' (mandarin duck) , '鴛' is male '鴛鴦' and '鴦' is female '鴛鴦'. '鴛' and '鴦' are both '鴛鴦'
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 5:00
  • @TangHo The "duck duck" part of my answer was supposed to be a joke, if anything. I can see how it would confuse people though. Thankyou for pointing that out! I've taken it out of my answer.
    – as4s4hetic
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 5:08

鸳鸯 (n) mandarin duck

鸳 is male; 鸯 is female

The term 鸳鸯 usually symbolizes 'lovers / couple' in Chinese culture.

But for your question, 鸳鸯 is used as an adjective to describe 'non-identical pair of ~'

male mandarin duck is bigger and more colorful than the female mandarin duck. They looked like two different birds but they are a pair nonetheless

For example:

'鸳鸯刀' is always a pair of blades that are different in length (right hand blade is longer than the left hand blade);

'鸳鸯襪' means a pair of mismatched socks

'鸳鸯飯' is fired rice covered by two different looking toppings side by side - shredded chicken in red sweet & sour sauce on one side, shrimp in white sauce on the other side.

The coffee and black tea mixed drink is named 鸳鸯 because it is a pairing of two very different things.

鸳鸯飯 鸳鸯飯

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.