Ep07: Have you been there before? | Lí kám bat khì--kuè 你敢捌去過 ?

Bite-size Taiwanese - Cover Art - Elementary - 2500x2500
Bite-size Taiwanese | Elementary
Ep07: Have you been there before? | Lí kám bat khì--kuè 你敢捌去過 ?

In this episode, we’ve learned some Taiwanese food and tourist attractions in Tainan, and a sentence pattern to talk about experience.

(These show notes use tables and rich formatting. Please visit the episode webpage for an optimal viewing experience.)

Tâi-lâm lí kám bat khì--kuè? Have you ever been to Tainan before?
bat Yes; I have … before

Grammar note: the basic meaning of “bat is “to know” or “to be familiar with”

bat No; I have never
Lí kám bat khì Sa-khá-lí-bah? Have you ever been to Sakariba?
Lí kám bat tsia̍h--kuè? Have you ever eaten it before?
Tâi-lâm ê bí-ko lí bat tsia̍h--kuè--bô? Have you ever eaten Tainan-style “rice cake” before?
Ū, guá bat tī Tâi-lâm tsia̍h--kuè. Yes, I have eaten it in Tainan before.
kháu- flavor or taste
tiám-sim-tànn street food vendor of snacks
tiám-sim snacks, street food

*Syllables requiring tone changes have been greyed out.

Below are some food mentioned in this episode. Food terms are culture specific and are often difficult to translate. The best way to learn them is to try them yourself!

kuann-tshâ-pang “Coffin bread”
sio̍k-pháng toast
bí-ko “rice cake”
iû-pn̄g “sticky glutinous rice”
thôo-tāu peanuts
hî-soo “dried shredded fish; or fish floss”
kue-á- cucumbers

And for “braised pork rice”, there are different terms and regional variations. Here is a chart to give you a general idea:

minced meat on top large chunks or slabs of meat on top
North-Central lóo-bah-pn̄g khòng-bah-pn̄g
South bah-sò-pn̄g lóo-bah-pn̄g


You may have noticed we used a sentence pattern to talk about “having had an experience of doing something”:

bat + verb + --kuè” to have v-ed before

e.g. Tâi-lâm guá bat khì--kuè. I’ve been to Tainan before.

Sometimes people would drop either “--kuè” or “bat” but it seems more common to keep both.

To form a question “Have you ever … before?”, you can use one of these two common sentence patterns:

  1. “Lí bat + verb + --kuè--bô?”
  2. “Lí kám bat + verb + --kuè?”

To practice this grammar point, check out our workbook. It also gives you some more additional vocabulary, culture and grammar explanations, and great exercises to reinforce what you’ve learned in this episode.


For all those overachievers out there, we will try to throw in a little something each episode that is a bit more challenging.

The One Bite Challenge for this episode is an impolite (but can be jokey) expression:

Lí ā-tá-mah khōng-ku---nih?

ā-tá-mah khōng-ku-” originally comes from the Japanese “a-ta-ma kon-ku-rii-to” (頭コンクリート), which literally means “concrete head”, but in Taiwanese it’s come to mean something like “blockhead”.

So this whole sentence “Lí ā-tá-mah khōng-ku---nih?” means: You blockhead? Why are you being so foolishly stubborn? The “--nih” is a regional (Southern), slangy question particle that can be replaced with other ones such as “--m̄” or “--bô” (= “--siooh”, “--hiooh”).

This Japanese phrase was probably popular before WWII when Taiwan was still a part of Japan. While it’s already lost in modern Japanese, this old expression has been kept alive in the Taiwanese language.

Music Credit: TeknoAXE

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