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Menu Atrocities


rlibkind
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Somehow not confusing to me... Stinky tofu is a literal translation of a common dish in Taiwan.

Vegetarian goose is likely a wheat gluten based food that comes from the vegetarian Buddhist tradition in China/Taiwan (and is linguistically no stranger than "veggie burger"). Sea blubber is, I presume, a variety of jellyfish?

Had lunch in Richmond, just outside of Vancouver, BC where we just couldn't decide if we wanted to try the sea blubber, stinky tofu, or my favorite, vegetarian goose.

I kid you not.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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I'd also say that "Brie cheese" doesn't seem as silly as "chai tea", which is actually the same word repeated. Brie is just a province, after all, not the French word for cheese.

Challah is also not a word for bread; it's a word for knots, if I remember correctly. Pita bread is potentially redundant, given the etymology. Gazpacho soup isn't terribly redundant either, since it doesn't contain the word "sopa."

I was at Via Tribunali in Seattle about a week ago and was reminded that dumbing-it-down isn't always a bad thing... the entire menu was in Italian with no translations. I can vaguely recall things like salsiccia or rely on cognates for a few other items, but I couldn't always translate things in my head, even coming from an ostensibly Italian-American family.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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... dumbing-it-down isn't always a bad thing... the entire menu was in Italian with no translations. I can vaguely recall things like salsiccia or rely on cognates for a few other items, but I couldn't always translate things in my head, even coming from an ostensibly Italian-American family.

It's true ... I ate at a tapas type place in NYC that specialized in Italian cured meats. The menu had dozens of small plates, with all the names of the meats (and cheeses and other regional preparations) in Italian. We wanted to know what the choices meant, so the waiter had to give us a ten minute lecture on the menu!

At least he treated it like part of the job, and seemed enthusiastic about teaching us what it all meant. But I wonder what the place gained (besides an air of pretentiousness) by not just putting explanations on the menu.

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

...two "pearls" from Asti, the Monferrato's capital...

The "risotto del giorno" turned into "the LAUGH of the day... :laugh::laugh::laugh:

and

"ACHTUNG AGNOLOTTEN!", to emphasize the formidable quality of the house raviolis... :laugh::laugh::laugh:

"Mi dispiace - esclamò un Italiano - che non sia peccato bere l'acqua: come sarebbe gustoso!" - "It's a shame -said an Italian- that drinking water isn't a sin: such a delight it should be!"

(G.C. Lichtenberg)

www.buongustotours.com

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Caramel flan.

So what's wrong with that ?

Flan always contains caramel. No caramel, no flan.

Over here, before real men began to eat quiche, they would at least eat an egg and bacon flan. Culture plays a major part in our interpretation of menus and food items. I would have no idea whether a flan was sweet or savoury without the "caramel" in front.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was recently at a restaurant in Spain.. When a menu here has an English version I like to see them both side by side to compare and see how things are translated.. As well as it being helpful.. To my surprise they had "Jewfish" on the menu.. :wacko:

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I was recently at a restaurant in Spain.. When a menu here has an English version I like to see them both side by side to compare and see how things are translated.. As well as it being helpful.. To my surprise they had "Jewfish" on the menu.. :wacko:

The term covers a number of species of fish worlwide but in a North American context it most often refers to the the Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara). In Australia its another name for the Mulloway (Argyrosomus hololepidotus Lacepede). I am not sure which fish was on the menu but it is quite unlikely to be the Goliath Grouper as it is a protected species in most countries. As the name suggests these fish can get quite big - exceeding the size of a VW Beetle.

Do you recall the Spanish term for this fish in the menu?

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I was feeling like I was getting a cold yesterday and wanted soup ..so we we went to one of our many wonderful Korean restaurants in town and I choose a soup that promised it would be "good for your swellness"

this morning I my swellness feels good!

ETA I do not think this was actually an atrocity of any kind ..it was more like a metaphor!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)
why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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One that irked me at the last restaurant I worked in was 'whip cream' as a descriptor for a dessert item, rather than 'whipped cream.'

The other thing that drives me bananas on menus is lack of consistency with accents. If you decide to use the accent aigu on one word, you not only must use that accent on that word throughout the menu, but you should also use it for other words that require accents.

"An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate."

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Here in the UK flan is used to describe a pastry case filled with any number of fillings - from savoury (spinach adn ricotta flan) to fruit flan.

The food that a New Yorker would recognise as flan would be described here as a caramel custard.

So here in England to write simply "flan" would be like writing "pie" in the states - not very descriptive.

www.diariesofadomesticatedgoddess.blogspot.com

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  • 5 months later...

Just happen to come across this post. I see so many funny translations from Russian to English in the restaurant menus in Moscow. Everyone uses the same dictionary, which often has the most obscure names for things.

But my favourite thing by far is the "Fresh-squeezed birch juice"... How DO they get a birch log into the juices is beyond me... :)

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A few months ago, one of our Bhutanese cooks was printing new menus and one of the items was a salad garnished with prosciutto. If there is not an expat around, there tend to be some spelling mistakes, which we had alerted the staff to be vigilant about, so he dutifully spell-checked the menu. Unfortunately Microsoft Word does not know Italian very well, so the cook went with Word's first suggested alternate spelling for prosciutto: prostitute. Yup, prostitute salad, and not even an extra service charge!

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A few months ago, one of our Bhutanese cooks was printing new menus and one of the items was a salad garnished with prosciutto.  If there is not an expat around, there tend to be some spelling mistakes, which we had alerted the staff to be vigilant about, so he dutifully spell-checked the menu.  Unfortunately Microsoft Word does not know Italian very well, so the cook went with Word's first suggested alternate spelling for prosciutto:  prostitute.  Yup, prostitute salad, and not even an extra service charge!

I did exactly as you said and sure enough, Word did suggest 'prostitute' as the first alternative. To be fair, I then tried the same task in OpenOffice Writer and wouldn't you know it ... prosciutto is a recognized word. Besides being a free alternative to Microsoft Office, it is also foodie-friendly! :raz:

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A few months ago, one of our Bhutanese cooks was printing new menus and one of the items was a salad garnished with prosciutto.  If there is not an expat around, there tend to be some spelling mistakes, which we had alerted the staff to be vigilant about, so he dutifully spell-checked the menu.  Unfortunately Microsoft Word does not know Italian very well, so the cook went with Word's first suggested alternate spelling for prosciutto:  prostitute.  Yup, prostitute salad, and not even an extra service charge!

Prostitute salad sound like the similar to the italian pasta a la putanesca what could bother me a bit more would be something like "slices of prostitutes". :wink:

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Prostitute salad sound like the similar to the italian pasta a la putanesca what could bother me a bit more would be something like "slices of prostitutes".  :wink:

Shades of Jack the Ripper! :laugh:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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