Chef’s Hat Characterplay

I took this photo here in Shanghai:

Panda Chef - truck

Check out that logo:

Panda Chef - logo

Believe it or not, there are three characters in there! You might need to be advanced to make them out. Can you read them?

I let my coworkers (native speakers of Chinese, and also Chinese teachers) see this logo, and of course they could read it when they focused on it, but it took them a full second to make out those characters.


The answer is below:

胖达叔 (Pàngdá Shū)
Uncle Panda


  • 胖达 (pàngdá) is just a phonetic representation of “panda” in Chinese, and uses the word “fat” (胖) so that it feels both semantically appropriate and cute.
  • 叔叔 (shūshu) means “uncle,” but is sometimes shortened to one character, as in this case. (I wouldn’t recommend trying it on your own, though, with people you’re trying to be respectful toward! Stick with 叔叔 for those people.)

Since this logo uses actual characters, it perhaps doesn’t fit my usual definition of “characterplay” (where new characters are created), but close enough! For more characterplay (much of it easier), see the Sinosplice characterplay tag archive page.


John Pasden

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


  1. Just from an American who doesn’t know Chinese, it’s really clever!

Leave a Reply