Chinese Slang: “Minding My Own Business”

Do you ever just want to stay uninvolved or tell someone else to mind their own business? If so, today’s Chinese slang word – 打酱油 (dǎ jiàng yóu – get soy sauce) – will be useful.

For example, if someone asks you a controversial question and you don’t want to get involved, you can say:

“我打酱油的” – “wǒ dǎ jiàng yóu de” – “Don’t look at me/I’m not involved.”

This phrase has an interesting backstory. A couple of years ago, a man gave a snide response to a TV reporter and it went viral on the internet. The man was being interviewed on the street by Guangzhou TV. When asked about a pop singer’s sex scandal that was big news in China at the time, he responded:

关我屌事,我出来打酱油的。(guān wǒ diǎo shì, wǒ chū lái dǎ jiàng yóu de – What’s that got to do with me? I’m just here to buy soy sauce.)

He meant it literally – he was just out buying soy sauce. However, the response was an instant hit online and the phrase 打酱油 (dǎ jiàng yóu – get soy sauce) has become Chinese slang for “to mind one’s own business/to not be involved/to be disinterested.” It is mainly used in a joking or sarcastic way to avoid talking about sensitive issues.

It’s not hard to find examples of dǎjiàngyóu in the wild. That’s because it is such a popular phrase in the Chinese web world.

Example 1)


“shěng zhèngxié yào qiú jièbié fāyán rén miànduì mínshēng hé mínyì shí bù néng dǎjiàngyóu.”

“Provincial CPPCC  demands that the sector spokesperson face up to the public’s welfare and public opinion, and shouldn’t stay uninvolved‘.”

Example 2)


“gòngyǒu réncì cānjiāle cǐcì kǎoshì, hěnduō kǎoshēng dū bào zháo dǎjiàngyóu de xīntài láide.”

“Altogether, 5,601 people participated in this exam, and many test-takers came with “I don’t care” mentalities.”

Example 3)


“zhāng yīshān chéngwéi zuì niánqīngde “wǔwáng”: wǒ zhǐshì lái dǎjiàngyóu de.”

“Zhang Yishan became the youngest “Lord of the Dance”: I was just minding my own business.

Hope you like this Chinese slang! 

What about you? Care to share some of your Chinese slang?

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