“盐” means “salt,” and “系” means “department.” As the flavor of “salt” is thought of as opposite to “sweet,” this term coined by Chinese netizens is used to describe a person’s countenance or dressing style. Used to describe either a man or woman, “in the cool department” means the person is dressed in a minimalist style and flat matte colors, or has such facial features as a chiseled jawline and high cheekbones. It’s also very likely that they keep a straight face and seldom smile, giving the impression of being offstandish.
Nǐmen bàngōngshì lái le jǐgè xīn tóngshì，zěnmeyàng？
You’ve got a few new colleagues in your office. How are they?
What do you mean exactly?
zhǎng de hǎokàn ma？
Are they good-looking?
Yǒu ge yánxì xiǎojiějie，tèbié měi。
There is this young lady in the “cool” department. She’s a killer.