Loto Commercial in Chinese Restaurant

This is a really fun commercial for the French lottery from the early 80s. In the commercial a customer is ordering dishes from a menu based on numbers, typical for a Chinese restaurant. Rather than taking down the order, the waiter is using the numbers to fill out a lottery ticket!

commercial text and translation

  • Customer: Alors, un plat impérial.
    So, an imperial plate.
  • Waiter: Quel numéro?
    What number?
  • Customer: Quel numéro?
    What number?
  • Waiter: Les numéros.
    The numbers (pointing with pen).
  • Customer: Ah, dix-neuf (19).
    Ah, nineteen.
  • Waiter: Dix-neuf, ça va.
    Nineteen, okay.
  • Customer: Une salade aux crabes, Vingt-et-un.
    A crab salad, twenty-one.
  • Waiter: Vingt-et-un, ça va.
    Twenty-one, okay.
  • Customer: Une soupe chinoise, quarante-trois.
    A Chinese soup, forty-three.
  • Waiter: Quarante-trois, ça va.
    Forty-three, okay,
  • Customer: Et un riz cantonais, cinquante-six.
    A Cantonese rice, fifty-six.
  • Waiter: Ça, ça va pas.
    That’s not okay?
  • Customer: Pardon?
    Excuse me?
  • Waiter: Il n’y en a plus, en cuisine.
    There’s no more in the kitchen.
  • Narrator: Le Loto, c’est tres amusant. Essayez de gagner gros.
    The Loto is very fun. Try to win big.

vocabulary and grammar of interest

  • Alors – translates to so. Use this at the beginning of sentences. Alors…so…
  • Quel – translates to what or which. This is an interrogative adjective.
  • Numbers – This commercial deals heavily with numbers. Full lesson here.
  • Une salade aux crabes – French way of saying a crab salad. To say a particular food flavored or made of say: Un noun à + noun. For example, un gateau au chocolat (a chocolate cake) or une tarte à la fraise (a strawberry pie).
  • Ça va – Here ça va means okay or alright. Ça, ça va pas – this is used to create emphasis. Notice there’s no ne as in ne va pas. This is typical French slang. Laura Lawless does an entire lesson on usages of ça va.
  • Il n’y en a plus – This is is il y a (there is) in the negation with plus, meaning anymore. The en is an object pronoun referring back to the riz cantonais. En is covered in this lesson.
  • En cuisine – They’re actually mocking the Chinese here on the preposition. It’s supposed to be “dans la cuisine.”
  • Essayez de gagner gros – try to win big. This was the slogan for the French Loto in the early 80s.

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About David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on his site, FrenchLearner.com, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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