Photo of the Day: Spicy Chicken


As the Met Gala sets tongues wagging about US celebs and their outfits — and following Nick Kapur’s fantastic thread on Chinese names for NBA players — we’re using our weekly photo theme to dig into some of the more unusual Mandarin Monikers for Foreign Stars.

Let’s kick off with a singer who’s no stranger to these pages, thanks to her, err, interesting relationship with the Chinese language and culture: Nicki Minaj.

Photo of the day: God is Always with Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj’s New Thing is… Vaguely Chinese?

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video for her new single “Chun Li”, complete with traditional Chinese character subtitles, fierce-looking douli wearers, and Nicki with her aforelinked “Chinese ink on”.

But hey, we’re not here to “get on our fuckin’ keyboard” and make Nicki the “bad guy” today, we’re here to talk about Spicy Chicken, Nicki’s nickname in Mandarin. While some Chinese fan names for non-Chinese celebrities can be pretty convoluted (hello, Steph “Fucks the Sky” Curry), this one’s really quite simple. Spicy Chicken, or 麻辣鸡 malaji, is a near-homonym for Minaj, with the added bonus of the spiciness seeming to suit her character.

And Nicki, if you want to cop some chopsticks and dig in to your namesake meal, we know where you can get some authentic Sichuan food.

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RADII (rā'dē-ī') is an independent platform of artists, writers and creators dedicated to sharing vibrant stories from the rarely explored sides of new China.

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