This is a video from the 2011 final of
the "China's Got
In it, a woman nicknamed "Cai
Hua Tian Ma" (菜花甜妈), sings Puccini's Nessun
According to the lore on the Internet, she sells food in a Shanghai
One of my Chinese students* kindly informed me today that "Cai
Hua Tian Ma",
means "Sweet Cauliflower Auntie"; the nickname was given to her because of
My student also explained the singer's real name is Hongping Cai (蔡洪平).
Anyway, the story goes
that the singer loves
Pavarotti's rendition of this song intensely,
but she wasn't able to understand
Her musical solution was to use the phrases from her
daily life at work.
A commentator on YouTube
these are the "lyrics" Hongping Cai usually sings:
Chicken drumstick, chicken wing
Duck drumstick, duck wing
carrot, tomato, green Chinese onion
shepherd's purse, parsley, celery, cabbage, chili
kidney bean, sword bean, green olive
Hurry come and buy!