The Leading Fresh Pun

I keep seeing this ad for dumplings (水饺), so I finally took a pic:

Fresh Pun

Here’s the part with the pun, conveniently indicated with quotation marks:

Fresh Pun


The pun uses the word 领先, meaning “to be in the lead” (ahead of the competition). Adding turns 领先 into 领先者, meaning the “leaders” in the field. In this ad, the 先 (xiān), meaning “first,” is replaced with 鲜 (xiān), meaning “fresh.”

So they’re claiming to be the leaders in freshness when it comes to broth-filled dumplings.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. 其实这里鲜我认为不是fresh的意思而是unami,吃起来很鲜,不是说这个产品很新鲜。
    I had to translate 鲜 in quite a few instances, all related to cooking, and “fresh” didn’t appear to be the correct translation; it all referred to the Japanese concept of umami (that as a Japanese speaker you are certainly ware of), this is widely used among Chinese speakers in speech when it comes to describing a particular flavour, often revealed through the use of savoury broths to cook the ingredients.

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