Monday, August 18, 2008

An exploding Chinese menu

We went to an authentic Chinese restaurant in Beijing for lunch Monday -- myself, my editor and buddy Mike Persinger and Washington Post reporter Liz Clarke, who's our friend and used to work at The Observer.

The restaurant had a menu with English translations of the dishes, and they were so peculiar it felt like something Monty Python would have dreamed up. Here's a picture of the menu, but I know it's so small you can't read it. So let me give you some of the choices we had -- EXACTLY as they were written on the menu -- and you decide what you would have picked:

Explodes the loose meat; Sweet and sour sauce with black fungus; stomach kernel; cow tendons; and lamb tripe.

Don't want any of those?

We also could have chosen: Sheep's head meat; Ox tripe; The water explodes the mutton or the always popular "Explodes fries the sheep's internal organs."

What did we have? We're not sure. We had our Chinese guide order four different things for us, we tried them all and we're not sick yet.


TheMessenger said...

Wouldn't all restraurants in Beijing be an authenic Chinese restaurant. What else would they be.

Sheng Jiang said...

Looks like the restaurant can not afford a college-educated translator... Or is using the quite literal and honest translation to scare foreigners off. Chinese restaurants are quite liberal on dish names. Sometimes they use extremely creative dish names that even ordinary Chinese can not tell the cooking material for the names.