10 Weirdest Street Names in Shanghai (Most of Them Are About Pigs)

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Monday, May 30, 2016 

under Culture by Kibon Xu

Some of you out there must find Shanghai’s street names pretty hilarious. I mean, come on, there’s so many dongs, and then there’s even pu with some of the dongs. Some top of the line, grade A, sky-high brow gutter humor right there. But, believe it or not, the oh-so-sophisticated laughs get louder when you learn the Chinese meanings behind some of Shanghai’s road names.


Huǒtuǐ (火腿) Lane

Let’s start with a simple funny. Huǒtuǐ means ham. Ham as in ham sammy. Ham as in Hamuel L. Jackson, star of Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic film Pig Fiction. Ham as in…this road in Huángpǔ is called Ham Lane. Maybe it was a road with lots of butcher shops at one time, or maybe it was a part of town taken over and administrated by cured meat people, as in walking, talking ham sausages, with families. Can you prove that was never the case? Probably.

Nóngsìzhī (农四支) Road

Nóngsì Branch Road is in Fèngxián. The name was no special meaning in Mandarin, but in Shanghainese…you better be careful telling your Shanghainese friends that you’re on this road. In Shanghainese, it means “You are the pig.” Probably something to do with those darned Ham Laners of the past, or else Shanghai has some weird obsession with pigs.

Wǔsìzhī (五四支) Road

In Shanghainese pronunciation, “wǔsìzhī” means, “I am the pig.” So also be careful when bringing up this road with your Shanghainese friends, because you could get into endless exchanges of, you are the pig. I am the pig? No, you are the pig. No, you are the pig. Yes, I am the pig. No, I am the pig. Etc. etc. etc. When really you’re just trying to communicate which pig road you are on.

Yǎzhì (雅致) Road

You’ve had enough of pig roads? Luckily for you, our next road, Yǎzhì Road, is not a pig road. It is “wild boar” road when mentioned in Shanghainese. So not quite a pig road, but still a part of the swine asphalt family. What’s the difference between a pig road and a wild boar road? Teeth. Yá means teeth.

Zhūzuò (猪作) Lane

In Chinese, zhūzuò means “frivolous quibbling pig.” Before, the lane was named Shāzhū Lane, which means “kill the pig.” The lane’s area used to be known for its slaughterhouses, but they relocated in the 70s so the name was also replaced. Still, I imagine there’s nothing more frivolous than the quibbles of a pig about to get slaughtered.


Dūshì (都市) Branch Road

I’ve had it with dūshì, as in I’ve had it with all pigs. This is it, “all pigs” road. The one pig road to quantify them all. And I swear that’s it for the pig roads.

Miànjīn (面筋) Lane

Sufferers of Celiac’s disease and health fads ought to stay away from Mianjin Lane, meaning “Gluten Lane”.

Ānxī (安西) Road

The road name itself has no malicious or funny meaning, but the Chinese way of saying “rest in peace” also involves the pinyin “ānxī”. So maybe if you’re planning a hit on your personal/professional rival, tell them to meet you on Ānxī Road for a dance in the pale blue moonlight.

Sānbā (三八) Road

Sānbā Road in Pudong New Area is meant to commemorate International Women’s Day, which is March 8th, or 3/8, or sānbā. In Chinese, however, “sānbā” also means “shrew woman”.  So you can post up on sānbā Road and have a quiet laugh at all the woman passing by, while society’s engrained misogyny sinks deeper and deeper into the collective unconscious.

Tiánài (甜爱) Road

This last one is my personal favorite. Tiánài Road means “sweet love” road, and it’s known as the city’s most romantic road. There’s a special mailbox with a picture of a heart on the ground around it, and any mail put into the box will postmarked with a special stamp so that the recipient can know where you sent the mail from. Also, they say finding this mailbox is good luck for your love life. Up and down the road, too, are officially commissioned graffiti walls with work done by professional street artists. The walls have a number of nooks and crannies out of the street’s line of sight, for some sweet love nook and crannie time. If you get my drift.


I'm talking about sex.


Know any other funny street names? Let us know in the comments down below!




Localization, editing and photos by Kenny Ong.