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Mmmmmmmm, that sounds tasty

CHINA | Tuesday, 4 December 2007 | Views [474] | Comments [3]

Translation can be a tricky game.  I am reminded every morning as I walk into the bathroom and see the “Mind act upon Mind” toilet paper wrapper in the trash can.  Who knew that toilet paper was capable of the old Jedi mind trick of mind control?  When Jenn and I were in Beijing we made a choice between two restaurants; one that’s name was translated to English and one that was written in Chinese alone.  We chose the Chinese place because “Seafood and Fungus” wasn’t too appealing.  After some famous Beijing Roasted Duck on a separate dining occasion, we opted to steer clear of “Yellow Pea Cake.”  I’m sure yellow pea cake is delightful for some but I’m not mature enough to try it or get past the possibility that the translation is correct but the spell check didn’t catch an error.

            Our friend Ray once told us that he couldn’t always look at a menu in Chinese and tell us what the dish would include.  Restaurants get creative with their names so that even the Chinese are sometimes thrown for a loop and have to ask just what exactly the dish includes.  10 restaurants will have the same dish and all 10 of them will call it something different.  Just the other night we went to my favorite neighborhood restaurant and found the English translations for some of the dishes.  Here they are;

“Cow cooks a mushroom”

“Explode to fry a sheep waist” 

“Romantic feeling hand grasps meat.”

“Imperial concubine keeps a thick soup”

Which one would you choose?  If you can’t decide, consult your toilet paper and it will guide you to the correct decision.

Tags: Adventures



hmmm... tasty. i choose mac and cheese.

  stacy Dec 5, 2007 3:52 AM


I choose not to eat any of them but find the local American Hard Rock Cafe or Mc Donalds if need be.

  Mom Dec 11, 2007 4:21 PM


Matt and Jen, I finally sat down and read your entire blog! Love it! Keep it coming!
Ironically, while I was reading about Beijing a commerical came on TV about Beijing. (I just happened to have on the BBC channel, then I changed to Discovery Channel and they were advertising a special called "Behind the Great Wall!" Guess it was "meant to be!" Take good care! We miss you!

  Liz Henry Jan 10, 2008 2:36 PM

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