Catch Phrase | 精神碳水(jīngshén tànshuǐ)

Writer: Debra Li  |  Editor: Stephanie Yang  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2022-02-14


“精神” means “spiritual,” and “碳水” is short for “碳水化合物”(tànshuǐ huàhéwù, meaning “carbohydrate”). As carbohydrates serve as energy sources and as essential structural components in organisms, they are essential to humans. Foods such as bread, rice, potatoes and beans that are high in carbohydrate can provide a feeling of satiation. Chinese netizens coined the term “spiritual carbohydrates” to refer to things that can bring comfort and satisfaction psychologically, such as movies and shows that feature romantic love affairs or protagonists who achieve success despite all odds against them. Also known as the “chicken soup for the soul,” the sweet stories that rarely happen in reality can offer people a rosy outlook on life and cheer them up.


A: 过年你去哪儿了?

Guònián nǐ qù nǎr le?

Where did you go during the Chinese New Year holiday?

B: 宅在家里看韩剧。女朋友跟我分手了,需要来点儿精神碳水。

Zhái zài jiālǐ kàn hánjù。Nǚpéngyou gēn wǒ fēnshǒu le,xūyào lái diǎn r jīngshén tànshuǐ。

I stayed at home binge watching South Korean TV shows. My girlfriend broke up with me, and I needed a little psychological comfort.